LOS ANGELES - Pack your bags; it's official. We are going to Mars. A Senate committee passed a bipartisan bill that will allocate $19.5 billion to NASA in 2017 with the goal of getting humans to Mars in the next 25 years.
Yes, Republicans and Democrats united in the name of space exploration and it isn't just suggestion: the bill requires that NASA make getting to Mars its official mission.
What's it going to take to get humans to the fourth planet from the sun? The bill gives $4.5 billion for exploration, nearly $5 billion towards space operations, plus $5.4 billion for "science."
The journey can take up to nine months-- and NASA has to wait until the planets are literally aligned to launch spacecrafts to reach it in that window.
Are you ready to be a Martian? There's less ground to cover because the planet is half the size of earth. You'd get an extra 41 minutes every day, and each year on Mars lasts 687 earth days.
Mars has 62 percent less gravity, so you'd weigh less (YES!) while being able to lift more than twice as much. Of course, without a spacesuit, you'd mostly be breathing carbon dioxide-- and therefore not lifting much of anything.
Another benefit to that spacesuit: the average temperature is -81° F, and can get as low as -225 ° F. Sure, that's cold, but you'd also be getting two moons for the price of one! Where do we sign up?