NASA has opened a new office called the "Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate" to oversee deep space manned missions.
At a turning point in the post-shuttle-space era, the NASA's new department combines both Space Operations Directorate and the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, which already exist, and preparing for an era of manned missions to deep space.
"America is opening a bold new chapter in human space exploration," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. "By combining the resources of Space Operations and Exploration Systems, and creating the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, we are recommitting ourselves to American leadership in space for years to come."
NASA was charged by Uncle Sam to put astronauts on an asteroid by 2025, and Mars by mid 2030s.
The new department will be responsible for developing a capsule for astronauts to travel safely and a heavy-lift rocket capable of traveling that far, among many tasks.