WASHINGTON – A House committee on Thursday approved a plan for NASA that would kill the Obama administration’s proposal to blast U.S. astronauts to an asteroid as early as 2021.

It is a “poorly defined mission,” Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., said of the plan to grab a speeding asteroid with a robot and drag it near the moon so future astronauts could visit it.

Instead, the Republican-dominated House science committee voted along party lines to direct NASA to develop a “sustained human presence” on the moon and Mars.

But it’s uncertain how they would pay for those multibillion-dollar endeavors, especially because House Republicans propose funding NASA at less than $17 billion next year.


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