U.S. Announces Plan for Manned Exploration of Solar System
December 5, 2006 -- NASA has announced that it is beginning to develop plans for a solar-powered lunar base in preparation for eventual missions to Mars and beyond. By 2020, four-person crews will begin to establish a lunar base by bringing power supplies and rovers and building living quarters in a series of seven-day missions. Next, the crews will stay at the lunar base for 180-day missions to get ready for voyages to Mars.
NASA is hoping to learn how to live off of the moon’s natural resources, prepare for a journey to Mars, and conduct a range of scientific investigations. Robotic missions will conduct landing site reconnaissance, natural resource surveys, and technological risk assessments prior to a human landing.
In April 2006, NASA initiated the Global Exploration Strategy to help plan for such missions and worked with 13 international space agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations and commercial groups. They will continue to work with such groups to plan future missions.
The Space Studies Board provides an independent, authoritative forum for all aspects of space science and applications, and it serves as the focal point within the National Academies for activities on space research.
The Board on International Scientific Organizations examines issues related to the international conduct of science; evaluates opportunities for international collaboration in scientific research; and strengthens U.S. participation in international scientific organizations.