The Last Astronaut?

The Solar System – With the end of the Space Shuttle program, things looked rather grimm for space exploration. With the cold war far behind us, the urge to fake do moonlandings has greatly diminished. The optimism of the 60′s and 70′s seem to have been replaced by complacency,while investments in manned space flight seemed to have dried up allmost completely.

The new of the death of the space age seems to have been greatly exaggerated, however. Last friday NASA revealed they still intend to sail the Final Frontier and seek out new life and new civilisations and hopefully court some green-skinned women that live beyond low-earth orbit, and generally promote imperial peace and order in the Great Beyond. There will be flag-planting involved, most likely.

“America is opening a bold new chapter in human space exploration,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “By combining the resources of Space Operations and Exploration Systems, and creating the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, we are recommitting ourselves to American leadership in space for years to come.”

The Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate, which combines the Space Operations and Exploration Systems mission directorates, will focus on International Space Station operations and human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

Plans involve the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle as well as the development of a new rocket: the Space Launch System among other things. While these plans seem ambitious, NASA didn’t divulge any plans to probe Uranus and mine gasses from it in the immediate future.

Read the NASA HEO announcement here.