By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Corporate researchers may be living on the moon by the time NASA astronauts head off to visit an asteroid in the 2020s, a study of future human missions unveiled on Thursday shows.
The study by Bigelow Aerospace , commissioned by NASA, shows "a lot of excitement and interest from various companies" for such ventures, said Robert Bigelow , founder and president of the Las Vegas-based firm.
The projects range from pharmaceutical research aboard Earth-orbiting habitats, to missions to the moon's surface, he said on Thursday, citing a draft of the report due to be released in a few weeks.
NASA intends to follow the International Space Station program with astronaut visits to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars about a decade later.
President Barack Obama 's proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1 requests $105 million for the U.S.