What’s next for NASA: A new space shuttle? A mission to Mars? Salon

With Discovery’s retirement, this year marks a turning point in NASA’s history. At the end of the year, the familiar orca-like space shuttle will depart from the public eye as NASA looks to create something that can take a person deeper into space than ever before.
Last year, Obama lit the fuse for NASA’s blastoff into the post-shuttle world with a renewed commitment to explore deep-space destinations (like Mars) and to create jobs in the process. With a $6 billion budget over the next five years — on top of $50 million worth of NASA contracts awarded to commercial companies like Boeing — we should expect great things. Here are some of the projects in the works: