London, Feb 24 (ANI): Soon, astronauts may orbit the Earth in inflatable space stations, now that NASA has made them a priority.
According to a report in New Scientist, NASA announced a change in this direction on February 1.
Instead of the planned crewed missions to the moon, the agency intends to pour money into research and development of inflatable space habitats.
The outline listed technologies on NASA's wish list but provided few details.
Now, NASA has fleshed out its plans in a detailed budget proposal posted on its website on February 22.
One section notes that balloon-like habitats "can be larger, lighter, and potentially less expensive" than traditional ones made of rigid metal walls.
They could be used as space stations, or eventually as moon bases.
NASA may send inflatable structures to the International Space Station (ISS) to test their mettle - including their ability to shield against space radiation.
The document also reveals that the agency plans to restart the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. (ANI)