|Apollo 17 Scientific Instrument Module bay on the Service Module, seen from the Lunar Module in orbit around the Moon; Courtesy - NASA|
|Eugene Cernan, the last human to walk on the moon performing the last lunar excursion, December 13, 1972; Courtesy - NASA|
|The STS-133 mission, Space Shuttle Discovery touches down similar to a small plane at the Shuttle Landing Facility; Courtesy - NASA/Kim Shiflett|
|Artist's rendering of Space Launch System (SLS) After Launch-20140827; Courtesy - NASA/MSFC & licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons|
While there’s no way to test a return from Mars reentry conditions, the test flight in 2018 is planned around the moon and will be launched on SLS. Then comes a series of LEO missions on SLS-Orion followed by the major proposed asteroid mission to be carried out by 2025.
In this, SLS is supposed to lasso an asteroid via a robotic spacecraft and put it in orbit around moon and then the first humans aim to land on the asteroid to conduct experiments and collect samples. The asteroid mission is aimed to be the final test bed for humanity’s odyssey to Mars.
|Orion Crew Module descending through the last 3.8 miles (6.1 km) after the system of parachutes were deployed in a unique sequence; Courtesy - NASA|