# Differences in NASA long term human space exploration since 1989?

I'm doing some research in to the various NASA long term programs for human space exploration, and I'm having a really hard time figuring out how they are really different. It seems that since the "90 day report" in 1989 the plan has essentially been:

1. Establish a long term presence in space via a space station.
2. Do a mission to the Moon, or cis-lunar space, to test out capabilities for a longer mission. Possibly include an asteroid mission.
3. Do a mission to Mars.

There has been so far as I can count 4 different versions of that plan, established under Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump, but they all basically seem to say the same thing when I start looking, except they want to scrap the "overpriced" rocket from the previous administration and start their own.

Am I missing something fundamentally, or are all of these programs basically the same thing?

• What about Bill Clinton in that line of Presidents? – Uwe Jul 14 '18 at 21:49
• I couldn't find a program that he pushed forward. I might have missed it, but... I think space wasn't his thing? – PearsonArtPhoto Jul 14 '18 at 21:50
• Does anybody remember a success in that plans regarding manned Moon or Mars missions? – Uwe Jul 14 '18 at 22:01
• The Clinton Administration brought Russia into the ISS program. I'd say that's fairly significant. – Organic Marble Jul 14 '18 at 22:37
• The time needed to plan, prepare and execute a Mars mission seems to be much longer than the 4 or 8 years of a single President. – Uwe Jul 15 '18 at 16:13

• "Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway"? Rudimentary research seems that to be an awful idea-- what's it for? Everything I find states things like: Retired aerospace engineer Gerald Black stated that the "LOP-G is useless for supporting human return to the lunar surface and a lunar base." He added that it is not even planned to be used as a rocket fuel depot and that stopping at LOP-G on the way to or from the Moon would serve no useful purpose and it would actually waste rocket fuel. – Magic Octopus Urn Aug 16 '18 at 13:24