Nasa is likely to announce new plans to send astronauts back to the moon following the outcome of the US presidential race, according to reports.
Space policy expert John Logsdon, claims that such plans were kept under wraps in case Mitt Romney, who lost to the incumbent Barack Obama, won earlier this week.
In an interview with space.com, Logsdon claimed Nasa intends to establish a manned outpost on the Moon with a view to visit an asteroid in 2025.
"Nasa has been evolving its thinking, and its latest charts have inserted a new element of cislunar/lunar gateway/Earth-moon L2 sort of stuff into the plan," said Longsdon, a retired professor at George Washington University.
"They've been holding off announcing that until after the election," he claimed, adding that Republican candidate Mitt Romney had promised to reassess and possibly revise the space agency's direction and budget.
Nasa is also likely to be able to achieve these goals within the $17.7 billion (£11.1 bn) budget that was outlined in the proposed 2013 federal budget, according to Logsdon.
"They're not talking about plans that imply significant budget increases," the former professor added: "It gives a more focused use for SLS and Orion before an asteroid mission."
Logsdon's reports tie-in with comments made by Nasa's deputy chief Lori Garver at a conference in September.
"We just recently delivered a comprehensive report to Congress outlining our destinations which makes clear that SLS will go way beyond low-Earth orbit to explore the expansive space around the Earth-moon system, near-Earth asteroids, the moon, and ultimately, Mars," Garver said.
She added: "Let me say that again: 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."Reuse content