NASA wants to go beyond Earth orbit again, but only in the next decade
With the Mitt Romney catastrophe avoided, as far as NASA is concerned, the US agency is safe to announce more ambitious plans for space exploration. Well, they would be ambitious if this were 1960, but we'll take what we can.NASA plans to go beyond Earth orbit in manned missions for the first time in decades.
There are plans to establish a permanent base orbiting the Moon, which could serve as a launch point for missions to nearby asteroids and eventually Mars.
Talk of manned Moon and beyond missions isn't new. But Space.com has space policy expert John Logsdon revealing still unconfirmed NASA plans.
Apparently, these plans had already been cleared with the Obama administration, but NASA didn't want them to be public in case Mitt Romney and his anti-science squad took office. With the danger averted, NASA is preparing to talk more about its plans.
The first step, apparently, would be to establish a base around the Moon or close to it, either in between the Moon and the Earth or in the L2 Lagrange point, which lies beyond the Moon.
There, the effects on humans in deep space could be studied and astronauts could help with Moon missions.
NASA's Space Launch System rocket and the Orion capsule would be used in these missions, but none of this is happening this decade.