NASA eyes plan for deep-space outpost near the Moon

February 14, 2012 | Source:

Artist's concept of astronauts in an Orion capsule helping direct robotic teleoperations on the moon's farside (credit: Lockheed Martin)

NASA is pressing forward on assessing the value of a “human-tended waypoint”  Earth-moon libration point 2 (EML-2) — a places in space where the combined gravitational pull of the Earth and Moon roughly balance each other out, allowing spacecraft to essentially “park” there.

EML-2 could serve as a gateway for capability-driven exploration of multiple destinations, such as near-lunar space, asteroids, the moon, the moons of Mars and, ultimately, Mars itself, according to NASA officials.