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As President Barack Obama's second term comes to an end, Congress is reconsidering the country's space priorities. The idea of a return trip to the moon is increasing in popularity. 

The Obama administration's space policy has long favored an asteroid mission by 2025 followed by a mission to Mars in the 2030s, as Ars Technica reported. But during the appropriations process, the House instructed NASA to cease the asteroid mission and instead "develop plans to return to the Moon to test capabilities that will be needed for Mars, including habitation modules, lunar prospecting, and landing and ascent vehicles," as Ars reported. The moon-before-Mars plan has seen bipartisan support in the House. 

"There is no better proving ground than the Moon for NASA to test the technologies and techniques needed to successfully meet the goal of sending humans to Mars by the mid 2030s," Rep. Mike Honda (D) of Calif., a major proponent of the new approach, told Ars.

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