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NASA to announce new manned moon missions?

Space fever could soon reach a new high with rumblings about NASA announcing new manned moon missions with a possible space outpost on the menu.

Eugene Cernan on moon
Astronaut Eugene Cernan on the moon in 1972. NASA/Harrison H. Schmitt

It has been almost 40 years since the Apollo 17 mission last landed a man on the moon. It may not take anywhere near that long before we send astronauts back to the moon's neighborhood. reports that NASA is seriously looking at sending out a new manned moon mission with the purpose of creating a manned outpost beyond the far side of moon and eventually visiting an asteroid in 2025. This may not physically land a human on the moon, but it would establish a deep space outpost as a base for research and missions.

President Obama's reelection could smooth the way for plans that have already been under consideration. Back in 2010, Obama affirmed a commitment to manned space exploration despite putting an end to NASA's moon program at the time. suggests the Obama administration has already approved new mission plans that could involve parking a spacecraft near the moon.

NASA deputy chief Lori Garver spoke at a conference in September, saying, "We're going back to the moon, attempting a first-ever mission to send humans to an asteroid and actively developing a plan to take Americans to Mars."

The equipment to make the flight is already in process with the development of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule.

NASA has been riding a high lately with the success of the Mars Curiosity rover. hints that a big announcement surrounding manned missions could be made soon.