The Obama administration wants Nasa to speed up work on sending humans on deep space exploration missions, including Mars, and has instructed the US space agency to spend at least $55 million (roughly Rs. 364 crores) on a “habitation augmentation module”.
According to Space.com, the funds will come from the Advanced Exploration Systems programme, part of the exploration research and development line item in the budget that received $350 million (roughly Rs. 2,322 crores) in the omnibus bill.
“Nasa shall develop a prototype deep space habitation module within the advanced exploration systems program no later than 2018,” the report states.
In the last few months, NASA has bolstered the development of a habitation module that could be tested in cislunar space (lying between the Earth and the Moon or the Moon’s orbit) in 2020s. The module could then be used for human missions to Mars.
Bigelow Aerospace company has also developed a prototype expandable module that will be installed on the ISS in early 2016.