The new national space policy calls on the space agency to target missions beyond low-Earth orbit – such as to an asteroid – by 2025, with the eventual goal of sending astronauts to Mars.
The 2009 study intensifies suspicions that Big Oil interests trumped US safety regulations, a concern that has been growing since the BP oil spill.
President Obama also orders tougher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.
New emission caps on greenhouse gases will add $950 to car prices but save $4,000 in fuel over the life of the car, the government says.
US gives carbon emission credits for hybrid, electric, and other alternatively fueled cars. The loophole is aimed at spurring the alternative technology.
The Obama administration set the first-ever greenhouse gas emission limits for US cars Thursday. To meet them, gas mileage standards must increase 40 percent to 35.5 miles per gallon.
Miniature, mass-produced nuclear power plants, along with other alternative energy sources, can help the US address global warming, says Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Critics see that plan as raising the risk of proliferation of nuclear materials.
China is building the Tiangong 1, or Heavenly Palace, to join the International Space Station in permanent orbit in 2011. Both China and the US are wary of working too closely, even in space.
Currently, the US has no permanent disposal site for nuclear waste. A new presidential commission is exploring ways to solve the problem of storing highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.
In announcing $8.3 billion in loan guarantees for the first new nuclear reactors in the US in 30 years, Obama is setting the stage for a nuclear power comeback. But many challenges lie ahead.