Concepts for human missions to the orbits of Mars and Venus that feature direct robotic exploration of the planets’ surfaces via teleoperation from orbit. These missions are good examples of Human Exploration using Real-time Robotic Operations (HERRO), an exploration strategy that refrains from sending humans to the surfaces of planets with large gravity wells. HERRO avoids the need for complex and expensive man-rated lander/ascent vehicles and surface systems. Additionally, the humans are close enough to the surface to eliminate the two-way communication latency that constrains typical robotic space missions, thus allowing real-time command and control of surface operations and experiments by the crew. In fact through use of state-of-the-art telecommunications and robotics, HERRO could provide the cognitive and decision-making advantages of having humans at the site of study for only a fraction of the cost of conventional human surface missions. HERRO is very similar to how oceanographers and oil companies use telerobotic submersibles to work in inaccessible areas of the ocean, and represents a more expedient, near-term step prior to landing humans on Mars and other large planetary bodies. Its concentration on in-space transportation systems makes it extensible to destinations that have not been associated with human missions in the past but may be of potentially great scientific interest, such as Venus.