I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the space shuttle being on it's last couple of missions and wondered aloud what was next for NASA. Well it seems they've already been working on the shuttle replacement and while it's still in it's infancy, the model is being built and then will move on to more rigorous testing.

Orion, as it is called, was part of a project called Constellation but it was somewhat scrapped during Obama's 2011 budget cuts. I guess he did a little rethinking and NASA was asked to continue the project in hopes of taking us to an asteroid and then on to Mars.

Orion was first being built as only an escape vehicle for emergency purposes but has now been expanded to be the human carrying replacement for the space shuttle.

"Orion is going to evolve from what it was under the previous Constellation program into what it needs to become as part of the multipurpose crew vehicle," NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs told the Associated Press.

The capsule will be moved from it's building facility to Denver to undergo rigorous testing to make sure it can take the elements it will be subjected too during flight and atmospheric re-entry. It could be ready to test fly by 2013 and carry humans by 2016. That's just a few years away. Hopefully  this will be a great adventure for NASA and carry us to new places the old shuttle wasn't able to. Hopefully that will include human transport to Mars, something the space program hasn't yet been able to accomplish. I look forward to seeing more great discoveries outside of earth.