Our space travel vision is to the Moon:  it is the closest celestial body, with many of the basic resources necessary to sustain life and an economy, not to mention an excellent view.  Most people believe that humanity will eventually settle the Moon. 

NASA has a goal of a climactic return to the Moon by 2020 including plans for the construction of a long-habitation moon base to be occupied by 2024. The base would immediately have astronauts staying for six months at a time.  Considering the recently reduced government funding to NASA, it may require a slightly slower pace of reaching the Moon by 2025, but NASA might not realistically reach the Moon’s surface again until around 2030.  Space travel to the Moon might become routine by 2050.

Meeting the current goal of getting back to the Moon by 2020 would require an additional $50 billion in government funding, and extending the life of the space station beyond 2016 may divert tons of money from the Moon efforts.  NASA needs the future of space transportation to be lead by private companies.  Since the retirement of the shuttles, NASA is counting on these private companies to bring cargo up to the space station and eventually the Moon.  A Moon base is seen as a long-term stepping stone for Mars missions.

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