Now that President Obama has been re-elected, NASA believes they can unveil their plans to send a man back to the moon. There are several reasons for this, but one is to build a step towards a visit to an asteroid in 2025. The article states “NASA has been evolving its thinking, and its latest charts have inserted a new element of cislunar/lunar gateway/Earth-moon L2 sort of stuff into the plan,” Logsdon told SPACE.com. (The Earth-moon L2 is a so-called libration point where the two bodies’ gravitational pulls roughly balance out, allowing spacecraft to essentially park there.) They believed Romney would have changed plans for NASA’s direction, which is why it had been kept under raps, according to the author. Their ultimate goal is to explore Mars in the 2030’s. Space.com says that rumors currently point toward parking a spacecraft at the Earth-moon L2 gateway, so NASA (and perhaps international partners) can learn more about supporting humans in deep space. Astronauts stationed there could also aid in lunar exploration — by teleoperating rovers on the moon’s surface. How much will this adventure cost you ask? Approximately $17.7 billion! This plan could get started as soon as 2021, and word has it that a big announcement could be coming very soon from NASA. NASA deputy chief said this, “We just recently delivered a comprehensive report to Congress outlining our destinations which makes clear that SLS will go way beyond low-Earth orbit to explore the expansive space around the Earth-moon system, near-Earth asteroids, the moon, and ultimately, Mars.”
Could you envision NASA’s mission of placing humans on Mars, an asteroid, or re-visiting the moon? I think there could be a huge future in space exploration!