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January 19 2013

Orion missions: Nasa and Esa set their sights on deep space


It is now more than 40 years since a human ventured beyond Earth orbit. The last three astronauts to slip our world's gravitational tethers were those on Apollo 17. They crossed 385,000 kilometres of space to land on the moon and then returned to splashdown in the Pacific on 19 December 1972.

Since then, no human has been higher than about 600 kilometres above Earth's surface. Now it is time to reach out again.

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