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WASHINGTON — With an expert panel’s final report on options for U.S. human spaceflight expected to be released the week of Oct. 19, NASA and White House officials are said to be coalescing around the idea of sending astronauts on deep space missions to near-Earth objects and potentially the moons of Mars.
A draft version of the final report, requested in April by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, is circulating within the White House and NASA.
and one of these, dubbed “flexible path” focuses not on returning to the Moon but rather on sending astronauts on asteroid rendezvous and Mars flyby missions.
Another administration official asserted that options that include returning astronauts to the Moon “are not sellable to the public or to the president.”