NASA's concept for a deep space habitat. 
NASA's concept for a deep space habitat.  - 
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Buried in the latest omnibus spending bill from Congress: plans to build a deep-space habitat.

One that might help NASA get a crew to Mars one day.

Congress set aside $55 million for the space-worthy living quarters. It wants an update from NASA by the middle of next year and is pushing to have something ready to go by 2018.

SpaceNews reports NASA could be testing the habitat in the 2020s and actually using it to get to Mars in the 2030s.

Which, as future-y as it sounds, isn't all that far away. 

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Follow Adriene Hill at @adrienehill