Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What’s the Latest Development?
Now that President Barack Obama has been reelected, NASA is expected to announce its plans for furthering human exploration of deep space, starting with a mission to a location above the far side of the moon. Space policy expert John Logsdon believes these plans have already been approved by the administration but NASA was delaying their release until after the election, since Republican candidate Mitt Romney “had pledged to reassess and possibly revise NASA’s missions and direction.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Two years ago the Obama administration mandated that NASA work toward sending humans first to an asteroid, and then to Mars, by the mid-2030s. In response, the agency has been developing a massive rocket and a crew capsule that will eventually travel to Earth-moon L2, an area in space where they should be able to “park” and take time studying the human experience in deep space. This intermediate trip, which NASA believes it can achieve within its current $17.7 billion budget, will help build momentum towards the asteroid trip. An Orion flight test is scheduled for 2014, during which it will go deeper into space than any manned craft has gone since 1972.
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