November 09, 2012

NASA may unveil new manned missions to the moon and L2

NASA is thinking about setting up a manned outpost beyond the moon's far side, both to establish a human presence in deep space and to build momentum toward a planned visit to an asteroid in 2025.

Exploration of Earth-moon L2 could get started as early as 2021 with the first manned flight of SLS and Orion, which NASA calls Exploration Mission 2. (Exploration Mission 1 is the initial, unmanned test launch of SLS, slated for late 2017.)

"I'm not privy to the specifics of this, but one could conceive of the second SLS mission being the start of activity in cislunar space, rather than just being a lunar orbit mission," Logsdon said.

We may know soon enough. NASA higher-ups have dropped hints recently that a big announcement may indeed be in the offing before too much longer.




"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," NASA deputy chief Lori Garver said at a conference in September.

"Let me say that again: We're going back to the moon, attempting a first-ever mission to send humans to an asteroid and actively developing a plan to take Americans to Mars," Garver added.



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