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Vigorous New Space Exploration Plan to be Proposed

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.

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Leonard David
Leonard David

Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as Space.com's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard  has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He was received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.