It has been just over a day since space shuttle Atlantis touched down for the final time, thus ending its 33-flight career and NASA's space shuttle program as a whole. So, as NASA prepares to strip down its final shuttle in preparation for turning it into a museum exhibit while beginning the process of handing out the pink slips, what does America's future in space hold?
The simple answer: a trip to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars by 2030. The complex answer: no one really knows for sure.
Back in 2004, President Bush introduced the Constellation Program, which was designed to return Americans to the Moon with the ultimate goal of establishing permanent bases on the Moon, which could later serve as launching platforms into deep space. With this new vision in mind, NASA set to work, spending billions and billions of dollars in developing the technology that would not only take Americans back to the Moon, but help them stay there for the long-term.