NASA unsure how to handle money issues that may stop manned launches to the moon

NASA will be unable to send an astronaut back to the moon by 2020 due to budget constraints, with space experts still unsure if the moon is a viable target again, according to the Human Space Flight Plans Committee.

Created by President Barack Obama, the committee is led by retired aerospace expert Norman Augustine, who is tasked with figuring out how to help NASA overcome financial and technological issues.  

The financial disaster is so horrible for NASA, in fact, sending astronauts anywhere further than the International Space Station is impossible at the moment.  Former astronaut Dr. Sally Ride said NASA "just can't get there," when discussing the current space administration.  Furthermore, Dr. Ride noted she is looking for space missions that could be successful with the current NASA budget.

The commission helped create several mission plans NASA could embrace, but it's unknown how viable each plan is at the moment.  For example, commission said existing military rockets could be modified to enter space, space shuttle derivatives can transport astronauts and cargo into space, or space fuel depots that can be used on longer-distance missions in deep space.

Aside from necessary spending for manned missions, the U.S. space agency also is under pressure to keep funding the ISS past 2015.  Regular Americans and space experts alike both think it'd be a tragic waste of time and money to simply stop supporting the ISS in such a short time span, especially since it is expected to be finished later this year or in early 2010.

After possibly landing on the moon and constructing a lunar base, NASA is expected to launch a manned mission towards Mars.  China, Russia, Japan, India, and the ESA currently have lunar ambitions that include sending manned missions and lunar probes to the moon over the next 15 years.  China is expected to be the next country to send astronauts back to the moon, as the country has a large amount of resources it is willing to use for space exploration.

President Obama is expected to help find NASA necessary funding to help develop the next-generation Orion technology, while also helping the U.S. space agency outline a viable plan over the next 20 years.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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