It has been almost 40 years since the Apollo 17 mission last landed a man on the moon. It may not take anywhere near that long before we send astronauts back to the moon's neighborhood.
Space.com reports that NASA is seriously looking at sending out a new manned moon mission with the purpose of creating a manned outpost beyond the far side of moon and eventually visiting an asteroid in 2025. This may not physically land a human on the moon, but it would establish a deep space outpost as a base for research and missions.
President Obama's reelection could smooth the way for plans that have already been under consideration. Back in 2010, Obama affirmed a commitment to manned space exploration despite putting an end to NASA's moon program at the time. Space.com suggests the Obama administration has already approved new mission plans that could involve parking a spacecraft near the moon.
NASA deputy chief Lori Garver spoke at a conference in September, saying, "We're going back to the moon, attempting a first-ever mission to send humans to an asteroid and actively developing a plan to take Americans to Mars."
The equipment to make the flight is already in process with the development of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule.
NASA has been riding a high lately with the success of the Mars Curiosity rover. Space.com hints that a big announcement surrounding manned missions could be made soon.