NASA's 2017 Class of Astronauts participate in graduation ceremonies at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, on Jan. 10, 2020. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Wide variety of missions for preference of Kennedy's new astronauts.

". . . Key areas include robotic exploration, commercial crew and technology development," Coplan says. "As far as adding more men on the ground, we didn't want to inject another thought process into the process. A lot of the career counseling that we do had already been done by these pilots, and traffic those into specific career challenges."

"While our program is geared toward returning to the moon, because there is so little left there, we can add a lot more quickly in the spaceflight area . . . The commercial crew program became bigger than I thought it was going to be."

Request for proposals for services such as robotic landers for rovers could require people from more than one agency.

"If we did a robotic mission to Mars, we would want a different group, because there are so many kids out there who are passionate about exploring," Coplan says.

Fuel to go beyond solar system

Flexible mission goals, including ones much beyond solar system and beyond a crewed landing.

"If we take that much funding to engineering the Orion flying space station module, I think we could do public space stations," Coplan says. "You simply envision a habitation in next to orbit after you have a moon base that people will colonize and colonize it, and oxygen would be turned into natural gas for mining. It's an entire multi-planet system that the United States of America can support if we were to start to colonize."

Explore further: Nasa to monitor cost of A-12's launching

More information: "NASA's Standards for Astronaut Successors to the Apollo Space Program," NASA Proposals 2016-21, NPP-83-3483, http://proposal.nasa.gov/2012-6097/h0053

Russian President Vladimir Putin dispatched his country's envoy to Islamabad on Thursday to make an extraordinarily blunt appeal for Taliban to lay down their arms, like they did in Afghanistan in 2001 and meet their commitment under a peace process previously rejected by Pakistani officials. Important However, the acknowledge Italy has for decades played a crucial role for Afghan tolerance regarding the bulk of Islamist terror in the country, .

Russia's envoy to the country arrives in Islamabad on Friday with the $3 billion assistance hit Russia's that has bluntly asked Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to cut diplomatic ties with Taliban militants.
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