Thursday, September 22, 2011

'Asteroid Next', 'Moon Next' to dominate future space programs, Mars much later: NASA

“Asteroid Next” and “Moon Next” will dominate NASA and ISEC group’s future space exploration efforts over the next 25 years while “Mars Next” will also follow soon.

NASA has released the Global Exploration Roadmap (GER) developed by the International Space Exploration Coordination Group with 12 space agencies, including NASA, during the past year to advance coordinated space exploration.

The GER begins with the International Space Station and expands human presence throughout the solar system, leading ultimately to crewed missions to explore the surface of Mars.

The roadmap identifies two potential pathways: “Asteroid Next” and “Moon Next.” Each pathway represents a mission scenario that covers a 25-year period with a logical sequence of robotic and human missions. Both pathways were deemed practical approaches to address common high-level exploration goals developed by the participating agencies, recognizing that individual preferences among them may vary.

The following space agencies participated in developing the GER (in alphabetical order): ASI (Italy), CNES (France), CSA (Canada), DLR (Germany), ESA (European Space Agency), ISRO (India), JAXA (Japan), (KARI (Republic of Korea), NASA (United States of America), NSAU (Ukraine), Roscosmos (Russia), UKSA (United Kingdom).

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