NASA's big decision: Build a moon base or lasso an asteroid?
NASA and lawmakers disagree over the future of human spaceflight. NASA has its sights set on an asteroid landing, while legislators want a permanent moon base.
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In 2004, NASA unveiled its Constellation program that aimed to return astronauts to the moon by 2020 using a new family of rockets, the Ares I and Ares V, as well as new Orion space capsules and moon landers. In 2010, however, the Obama Administration replaced that program with the asteroid-oriented spaceflight goal NASA is currently pursuing.Skip to next paragraph
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The current space vision still includes the Orion capsules, but replaces the Ares rockets with a single mega-rocket called the Space Launch System. The first manned flight of the complete Orion-Space Launch System is expected in 2021.
"NASA will not take the lead on a human lunar mission," Bolden said during a joint meeting of the Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board on Thursday (April 4), according to a SpacePolitics.com report by Jeff Foust. "NASA is not going to the moon with a human as a primary project probably in my lifetime. And the reason is, we can only do so many things."
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