full screen background image
+ NASA Home
+ Contact NASA

The Future of Space Exploration

Revised: August 2011

This area of inquiry can expand as far as the human imagination can stretch. However, this webpage will not cover science fictional ideas like inertialess drives, but what is in the grasp of today's technology. Right now, Congress and the White House have given NASA the task of building the Space Launch System, a booster, using a combination of Shuttle-derived, Apollo-derived, and cutting-edge technology that would be nearly as strong as the Saturn V boosters which sent astronauts to the Moon forty years ago, a new space capsule, the Multi-Purpose Crewed Vehicle, which would be specially adapted for voyages beyond Low Earth Orbit, and proposed that NASA's next destination would be an asteroid whose orbit would carry it close to the Earth. You may also find items of interest in our webpages on Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, and Near-Earth Objects, Launch Schedules and Mission Chronologies, Nuclear Power in Outer Space, Space Colonization, and Space Commercialization and Space Tourism.

All items are available at the Headquarters Library, except as noted. NASA Headquarters employees and contractors: Call x0168 or email Library@hq.nasa.gov for information on borrowing or in-library use of any of these items. Members of the public: Contact your local library for the availability of these items. NASA Headquarters employees can request additional materials or research on this topic. The Library welcomes your comments or suggestions about this webpage.

Contents: Books E-books Journals Internet Resources


Booz Allen Hamilton. Independent Cost Assessment of the Space Launch System, Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle and 21st Century Ground Systems Programs: Executive Summary of the Final Report.. McLean, VA: Booz Allen Hamilton, 2011.
TL785.8 .L3 B634 2011 BOOKSTACKS
Czysz, Paul A., and Claudio Bruno. Future Spacecraft Propulsion Systems: Enabling Technologies for Space Exploration. Berlin; New York: Springer; Chichester, UK: Published in association with Praxis Pub., 2006.
TL782 .C99 2006 BOOKSTACKS
International Symposium on Beamed Energy Propulsion. Beamed Energy Propulsion Systems: First International Symposium on Beamed Energy Propulsion: Huntsville, Alabama, 5-7 November 2002. Melville, N.Y.: American Institute of Physics, 2003.
TL783.5 .I58 2002 BOOKSTACKS
McElyea, Tim. Project Constellation: Moon, Mars, and Beyond. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2007.
TL789.8 .U6 C66 M34 2007 BOOKSTACKS
McInnes, Colin Robert. Solar Sailing: Technology, Dynamics, and Mission Applications. New York, NY: Springer, 1999.
TL783.9 .M36 1999 BOOKSTACKS
National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA's Constellation System. Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA's Constellation System: Interim Report. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2008.
QB500.266 .U6 N377 2008 BOOKSTACKS
Also available as an e-book through the National Academies Press.
Tajmar, Martin. Advanced Space Propulsion Systems. New York, NY: Springer, 2003.
TL782 .T34 2003 BOOKSTACKS


The e-books listed below are available to the general public through the National Academies Press.
Committee for a Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics. New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics. 2010.
Committee for the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space. Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era. 2011
Committee on the Planetary Science Decadal Survey. Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022, 2011.
Committee on the Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program. America's Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs, 2009.
Committee to Review NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program. A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program, 2008.
Committee to Review the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. Fostering Visions for the Future: A Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, 2009.
Committee on Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA's Constellation System. Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA's Constellation System: Interim Report, 2008.
National Research Council. Forging the Future of Space Science: The Next 50 Years. 2010


Ad Astra
Aviation Week and Space Technology
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
The Planetary Report

Internet Resources

British Interplanetary Society. 2011 [August 26, 2011].
Goodeill, Anthony. In Situ Resource Utilization. April 11, 2011 [August 26, 2011].
100 Year Starship™ Study. 2011 [August 26, 2011].
The International Space Elevator Consortium. 2011 [August 26, 2011].
Loff, Sarah. Crew Vehicle and Launch System. August 24, 2011 [August 25, 2011].
__________. Exploration. August 24, 2011 [August 25, 2011].
__________. Exploration Technology Development Program. August 3, 2011 [August 25, 2011].
National Space Society. August 26, 2011 [August 26, 2011].
Patterson, Michael J. Ion Propulsion. April 21, 2009. [March 15, 2010].
The Planetary Society. 2011 [August 26, 2011].
Talbert, Tricia. Office of the Chief Technologist. August 23, 2011 [August 25, 2011].
Zona, Kathleen. Warp Drive, When? Jan. 26, 2009 [August 25, 2011].

Last Updated: August 2011