Democrats and Republicans find common ground – on Mars



How a rare area of bipartisan agreement could help NASA’s bottom line

This illustration made available by NASA depicts the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars after launching from the Perseverance rover, background left. | NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP


04/10/2021 07:00 AM EDT

Updated: 04/10/2021 02:13 PM EDT

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After decades of partisan battles, there’s finally something that can unite Washington — and it’s 150 million miles away.

Democrats and Republicans alike are giddy for NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter, which is expected to take off on Mars as early as Wednesday for the first powered flight on another planet. And some of the top space supporters on Capitol Hill are hopeful this excitement among their colleagues and the broader American public will translate into bigger budgets for NASA to pursue its most ambitious missions, including sending people to the moon and Mars, getting Martian soil samples back to Earth and exploring further into our solar system with robots.

“Sometimes my friends on the hard left and the hard right don’t want to spend money on NASA, on space exploration and on advancing into the off world,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), the ranking member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. “Fortunately … there’s overwhelming support from what I define as the rational center in Congress to continue to do this.”

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