Look for the Planetary Society to hold a National Press Club briefing in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 13, outlining "a vigorous new space exploration plan" – one designed "to achieve more, cost less, and engage the world."

The plan draws from town hall meetings, as well as a two-day workshop held in February at Stanford University that put NASA's Vision for Space Exploration not only under a microscope but also on-notice.

The soon-to-be-issued roadmap was blueprinted "with an eye to the world's current economic situation," according to the Planetary Society, and touches on:

  • the driving goal for human spaceflight;
  • the future of the lunar program;
  • renewed commitment to Earth observations from space;
  • and possible new human mission objectives.

The carefully folded roadmap is to be presented to the Obama Administration and Congress.

Sure to be spotlighted in this week's press briefing is whether the Moon as a dead world is a dead end. Are there other publicly engaging milestones on the road to Mars, such as gravitationally stable Lagrangian points in the Earth-Sun system, the near-Earth asteroids and the Martian moon Phobos?

Also likely to be heard is that the Obama White House needs to hear a forceful message from a post-election NASA that Earth science is a critical part of the space agency's mission – something that has been lost in the current Vision for Space Exploration.

Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than four decades. He is past editor-in-chief of the National Space Society's Ad Astra and Space World magazines and has written for SPACE.com since 1999.