About a month and a half ago it was announced that NASA might be building a manned outpost located beyond the far side of the moon, giving them a base from which to explore near-Earth asteroids, the moon, and Mars, with the goal of eventually sending astronauts to all three places. And now it looks like NASA will probably announce their official plans to build such a station soon—in part because President Obama got re-elected.
As reported on Space.com,
“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.”
Ooh, sneaky. And also very practical. NASA officials believe they can make these manned missions happen while staying within their budget, which currently stands at $17.7 billion for 2013. But it made sense to hold off on the official announcement in case Romney, who in September announced his intention to reassess NASA’s purpose and missions, came into power and changed things up.
But he didn’t, so manned space exploration is still firmly on the table, even if the big kahuna—getting humans to the moon and, later, Mars—will take several decades. NASA deputy chief Lori Garver says it’s definitely going to happen, though: “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.”
About freaking time.