Berlin, Feb 8: The European Space Agency said it will contribute key components for a future NASA mission to take humans around the moon within the next few years.
Astronauts haven't gone beyond a low orbit around Earth since 1972, when NASA ended its Apollo program.
The European Space Agency and aerospace company Airbus have already delivered a propulsion and supply module for an unmanned flight of NASA's new Orion spacecraft next year.
The agency said on Wednesday that it and Airbus have now agreed with NASA to build a module for a second, manned mission that will fly around the moon as early as 2021. Orion is eventually intended to expand human exploration to deep-space destinations such as Mars or asteroids.