In early February, Nasa is expected to reveal details about its plans to send humans to the Moon once again when it hands over its budget request to the federal government for 2019.

The announcement will come two months after Donald Trump signed a new space policy directive instructing Nasa to return to the moon as a step towards Mars and other destinations. This turned the space agency away from the Obama administration's project to send humans directly to Mars.

Little is known about what Nasa actually has in the pipeline for these future moon missions. What we do know is that an advanced new type of crew capsule called Orion will probably be involved, as will the space agency's new Space Launch System.

Robert Lightfoot, Nasa's Acting Administrator, hinted at significant plans, speaking at the civil space forum for the Center for Strategic and International Studies last week.

"We're getting ready to embark on a pretty strong lunar exploration program with an eye towards Mars," he told the conference, according to SpaceNews.

"We've been working on the plan. We've been working with the administration. I think when the budget comes out folks will see what we've been asked to go do and how we think we're going to do it."

The White House has not currently announced a date for the formal release of the 2019 budget, but it is expected on February 5. Don't be surprised if this date gets pushed back though as it is not uncommon for administrations to delay the release.