NASA is celebrating the fact that its latest spaceship is nearer production by taking a full-size mock-up of the craft and its abort system on a road trip.

The massive launch abort system (LAS) – also known as the LAS pathfinder – is the orbit system which will help the Orion if it gets into trouble when in space.

It went on tour across the US last month in a bid to show the US public what NASA has been working on.

Constellation program

Unsurprisingly, the 45-foot-long rocket assembly was a hit with the public. So much so that the BBC is reporting that a replica of the smaller Orion exploration vehicle has also broken cover and is being showcased in Washington DC.

The frankly strange-looking pod will eventually take astronauts back to the Moon and then onward to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.

The new spaceship will play a vital part in what is being called the Constellation Program, and will launch sometime in the next decade.

Speaking about the upcoming space program, Alan Rhodes from NASA told the BBC: "We've spent just 301 hours on the surface of the Moon so far, so to take information from such a small amount of time is tenuous.

"There's still an amazing wealth of knowledge we can find there."

Via BBC