NASA May Unveil New Manned Moon Missions Soon
NASA is serious about sending astronauts back to the moon’s neighborhood and will likely unveil its ambitious plans soon now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected, experts say.
The space agency has apparently been 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.
The new plans have probably already been cleared with the Obama Administration but have been kept under wraps in case Republican candidate Mitt Romney won Tuesday night’s (Nov. 6) presidential election, said space policy expert John Logsdon, a professor emeritus at George Washington University.
“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.) [Gallery: Visions of Deep-Space Station Missions]
“They’ve been holding off announcing that until after the election,” Logsdon added, noting that Romney had pledged to reassess and possibly revise NASA’s missions and direction.