Walker emphasized the notion, pointing to the recent interest in the Moon generated by U.S. companies Golden Spike and Space Adventures.
Golden Spike is looking to a customer base that includes foreign powers in plans to mount commercial expeditions to the lunar surface. Space Adventures intends to transport space tourists on Apollo 8 style missions that circle the Moon.
As part of a U.S.-led global lunar engagement, NASA should establish an international framework to develop key technologies for future missions to the asteroids and Mars, including nuclear propulsion to dramatically cut travel times and radiation protection, according to Walker.
“We’ve worked them preliminarily. They are there to be created,” said Walker. “That makes it politically saleable.”