Starting on the Unending Frontier
Thomas Wm. Hamilton
November 19, 2012
The next step should be landing on a couple Near Earth Asteroids, possibly including one under 20 meters across to which an ion drive could be attached to ultimately divert it into Earth orbit. (This is an enhanced version of a proposal I wrote up while employed at Grumman Aircraft on the Apollo Project when they were looking for proposals for a follow up.) Following this, advanced lunar exploration including the establishment of a permanent base, perhaps located in or next to a lava tube. The third step would be a manned mission to Mars. This would involve landing four to six unmanned cargo vehicles before the manned vehicles arrive. There should be at least one cargo vehicle to each of Mars' moons so a small, temporary base could exist on each.
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.