A report from FOX News indicates that NASA is no longer just looking at the moon and Mars as points of interest, but it considering taking our trend of living in space one step further – by setting up a deep-space outpost roughly 1.5 million kilometers beyond the moon itself.
Aiming to go beyond our currently limited area of space exploration, NASA is developing a revolutionary new space vehicle for long-range trips out into space and back: the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (or MPCV for short). Using this vehicle and leftover parts from the creation of the International Space Station NASA is looking to develop a stationary platform to orbit in a zone known as the “Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 2,” effectively a gravitational dead-zone where a parked station can remain virtually unaffected by any outside force and act as a launching point for solar system exploration.
By developing a launching station in this zone NASA hopes to mitigate much of the risk that deep-space exploration may bring, allowing astronauts to begin truly exploring areas such as asteroids, Mars or other moons close to Earth. Further, the Orion MPCV allows for much greater exploration potential than the now retired space shuttles, meaning explorers aboard the MPCV can remain in space for up to 900 days and survive reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere at much greater speeds than the shuttle — something necessary to allow for any real exploration to be successful.
Currently NASA is under negotiations with President Obama as well as other private commercial partners to garner enough funding to begin development of the deep-space exploration platform, and if successful the first flight to begin construction of the deep-space outpost can begin as early as 2019.