Research

Micro 55: When humans leave low-Earth orbit

A national and international desire to leave low-Earth orbit

“Human exploration beyond low Earth orbit is beginning to emerge again,” says planetary geologist Jim Head. “We want to start the discussion about where we want to go and what are our scientific reasons for going there.”

With development underway on a new heavy-lift rocket and crew capsule, NASA is getting poised to send astronauts out of low-Earth orbit for the first time since the end of the Apollo program. The time is now to start planning the scientific goals for those future human missions, says Jim Head, professor of geological sciences at Brown University.