OK. Can someone help me with this? The US had a program called "Constellation" which included a heavy-lift rocket, and a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV, otherwise known as Orion) launch vehicle. This is back again in some form as I understand it. That's not the issue. The issue is that this is presented (as far as I can tell) as our way to the Moon and Mars. While I think that the design of these vehicles has an elegant simplicity and is inherently much safer, cheaper and reliable than Shuttles, how is anyone going to Mars in a 15 foot diameter cone? Maybe going to the moon in it is fine, but there is no mention of what I see as the key approach to extended space travel in the solar system. That would be that the Orion is an Earth-to-LEO crew vehicle. That's it. And the Ares V is a heavy component and fuel transport, also to LEO. The key is, you build your REAL spacecraft in LEO from as many components as you need as launched by Ares V. You transport construction crews and the final exploration crew to your heavily fueled, nicely sophisticated Mars exploration spacecraft. Why is this not at all mentioned by NASA? You will never go "direct" to Mars with a vehicle launched from earth's surface. That's stupid. What's going on here?