HOUSTON — The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will spend more than $1.2 million over the next year to study how a manned lunar base could be built and what the benefits of such an outpost would be, the space agency announced Tuesday.
NASA is considering a variety of options to serve as long-range agency goals, including an outpost on the moon, a manned or unmanned mission to Mars and an intensive Earth-study program.
Five contracts or grants totaling more than $1.2 million to study moon base concepts will be managed by the Johnson Space Center, officials said.
Two of the studies will be conducted "in-house" by space center and contractor engineers to explore advanced lunar transportation techniques and overall use of such an outpost.
Other studies will concentrate on defining the systems required for a moon base, how the shuttle and unmanned rockets could be used during development and what new types of rocket propulsion might play a role.
The contracts are expected to be awarded this summer.