President Trump signs bill authorizing NASA funding, Mars exploration

President Donald Trump signed a bill on Tuesday authorizing the funding of NASA and the exploration of Mars.

The new law allots the space agency $19.5 billion for the 2018 fiscal year and adds a new objective -- sending humans to Mars. It instructs NASA to begin planning for a "crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s," reports The Hill.

NASA's most incredible photos of 2016

"For almost six decades, NASA's work has inspired millions and millions of Americans to imagine distant worlds and a better future right here on Earth," Trump said during the signing.

SEE ALSO: NASA announces plan to turn the sun into a giant 'magnifying glass'

The president signed the bill in the Oval Office surrounded by astronauts and supporters of the bill, including Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who traveled into space in 1986 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla) also attended the bill's signing.

"Now, this nation is ready to be the first in space once again," said Trump.