Private firms may travel to lunar surface: NASA report

London, May 24 (IANS) A study of future human missions has indicated corporate researchers could be living on the moon by the time NASA astronauts head off to visit an asteroid in the 2020s.

The study by Bigelow Aerospace, commissioned by NASA, shows "a lot of excitement and interest from various companies" for such ventures, Daily Mail quoted Robert Bigelow, founder and president of the Las Vegas-based firm, as saying.

The projects range from pharmaceutical research aboard Earth-orbiting habitats, to missions to the Moon's surface, he said Thursday, citing a draft of the report due to be released in a few weeks.

NASA intends to follow the International Space Station programme with astronaut visits to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars about a decade later.

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