All this has to be ready to launch by 2025 by presidential order. It has the dreamers of NASA both excited and anxious. "This is a risky mission. It's a challenging mission," says NASA chief technology officer Bobby Braun. "It's the kind of mission that engineers will eat up." This is a matter of sending "humans farther than ever before," says NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. It is all a stepping stone to the dream of flying astronauts to Mars in the mid 2030s. "I think it is THE mission NASA should embrace," says University of Tennessee aerospace professor John Muratore. "To be successful at this mission, you've got to embrace all of the technologies that you need for Mars." The reason NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and others give is that this mission could save civilization. If NASA goes to ion propulsion, the best bet would be to start the bulk of the ship on a trip to and around the moon without astronauts. That would take a while, but if no one is on it, it doesn't matter, Joosten says. Then when that ship is far from Earth, astronauts aboard Orion would dock and join the rest of the trip. By this time, the ship would have picked up sufficient speed and keep on accelerating. Much of the habitat could be inflatable, launched in a lightweight form, and inflated in space. On Friday, July 22, 2011, NASA announced a competition among four universities to design potential exploration habitats. Daunting space mission: Send astronauts to asteroid | R&D Mag Brilliant plan by visionairies. Truly brilliant.