To the moon? Bigelow Aerospace and NASA look at private exploration
Bigelow Aerospace / NBCNews.com
A mockup created by Bigelow Aerospace shows a moon base with inflatable modules.
Bigelow Aerospace and NASA say they've agreed to look at ways for private ventures to contribute to human exploration missions, perhaps including construction of a moon base. But the space agency emphasized that it's keeping its own focus squarely on corraling an asteroid and then going to Mars.
"As part of our broader commercial space strategy, NASA signed a Space Act Agreement with Bigelow Aerospace to foster ideas about how the private sector can contribute to future human missions," David Weaver, the space agency's associate administrator for , said in a statement emailed to NBC News.
"This will provide important information on possible ways to expand our exploration capabilities in partnership with the private sector," Weaver said. "The agency is intensely focused on a bold mission to identify, relocate and explore an asteroid with American astronauts by 2025 — all as we prepare for an even more ambitious human mission to Mars in the 2030s. NASA has no plans for a human mission to the moon."
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