Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD)
The Exploration Systems Mission Directorate’s (ESMD) mission is to promote exploration, commerce, and U.S. preeminence in space; to develop a sustained human presence on the moon; and to serve as a stepping stone for the future exploration of Mars and other destinations. This mission is derived from the 2004 Vision for Space Exploration presented by President Bush, committing the U.S. to human and robotic programs exploring the solar system. ESMD performs research and development to develop NASA’s ability to send humans on exploration missions. This includes research focusing on astronaut health and safety, enabling them to perform their work during long-duration space exploration. In the nearer-term, ESMD will develop robotic precursor missions. (Source: NASA) In support of these efforts, the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate performs field tests, designs surface systems and conducts advanced human research to ensure the safety, affordability, and sustainability of future missions.
Featured missions of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate include the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the LCROSS moon satellite, both of which contribute to a greater understanding of the moon by mapping and characterizing the lunar surface. In addition, ESMD is a part of NASA's Commercial Crew & Cargo Program (C3P).
Information on funding for the ESMD can be found under the NASA Budget tab.
MR (December 2010)