Buzz Aldrin, left of President Obama, visited the Oval Office in 2014.

In recent years, Aldrin has used his astronautics expertise and fame to push a cycler concept that he believes would be the best way to visit and eventually inhabit Mars.

"It competes with the private sector," Aldrin said.

Before NASA existed there was NACA, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics.

This government agency had responsibility for testing aircraft developed by the US and for promoting the aviation industry through applied research.

Senators have said they have pushed for this funding because they believe it is essential that NASA retain the capability to design and build rockets because private industry cannot be relied upon to do this entirely on its own.

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