By Joey Bunch, ColoradoPolitics.com

Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter wants to know what it would take in know-how and dollars to send a manned mission to Mars by 2033. He also wants NASA to stay on schedule to get astronauts there.

A member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, the Democrat from Arvada put a provision in the new NASA Transition Authorization Act to keep the ball rolling on a manned mission to Mars. The bill passed the House Tuesday and heads to President Trump for consideration.

The overall NASA bill includes the Journey to Mars project.

“NASA has been working on the Journey to Mars for several years, but we currently lack focus and conviction for this mission,” Perlmutter said in a statement. “We need a firm timeline and plan to put the building blocks in place. If we set a goal and work together, we can get our astronauts to Mars by 2033.”

Mars by 2033 has become a crusade of sorts for Perlmutter.

His office in a press release noted:

Earth and Mars will be in an orbit and alignment in 2033 to provide the optimal scenario to more safely get our astronauts to Mars and back.

“I have seen what we can accomplish when we put the best and brightest in a room together,” Perlmutter stated. “I look forward to working together to provide the necessary resources to solve tough scientific, engineering and mathematical problems to better our society and our understanding of the solar system and beyond.

“This includes dozens of Colorado aerospace companies and research institutions which will help us reach the next frontier of deep space exploration.”

Here is a clip of Perlmutter on C-SPAN making a case on the House floor for the Journey to Mars on Tuesday.

“This bill will require detailed plans from NASA on how to do that, and more importantly on the time lines, so we can get to mars through the development of a human exploration road map,” Perlmutter told his fellow House members. ”

The NASA Transition Authorization Act is is the first NASA authorization bill since 2010. NASA is funded by a continuing resolution through April 28, but a new appropriation will have to be approved after that.

The new bill authorizes $19.5 billion for NASA next year.

  • $5.5 billion for NASA science programs.
  • $5.02 billion for space operations.
  • $4.33 billion for exploration activities.
  • $2.79 billion for safety, security and mission services.
  • $686 million for space technology.
  • $640 million for aeronautics research.
  • $115 million for education programs.
  • $37.4 million for NASA’s inspector general.

The space agency received $19.3 billion in the current budget year.