The government has approved four years of additional funding for the International Space Station. The extra funds will cost $3 billion a year and will extend the life of the orbiting outpost until at least 2024. NASA says there are still a lot of tests they need to perform on the ISS. For example, preparing for a manned mission to Mars. The agency said once we commit to a distance as far away as Mars, we better really understand that system. Also, NASA hopes that it can recoup some of the upfront investment in the ISS now that the station is so productive, whereas little science was done in the early years of the space station.