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NASA releases new asteroid mission images

Posted on Sunday, 25 August, 2013 | Comment icon 13 comments

An astronaut collects a sample from the asteroid. Image Credit: NASA
The space agency has revealed new concept images detailing their plans to land astronauts on an asteroid.
The newly released images depict the planned rendezvous between a manned Orion spacecraft and an asteroid that has been moved in to a near-Earth orbit. Among the pictures are concepts showing Orion reaching its destination and astronauts on a spacewalk collecting samples from the surface of the asteroid.

Despite concerns over NASA's budget, the space agency has confirmed that it is still committed to the ARU ( Asteroid Retrieval and Utilization ) mission with a tentative launch date estimated to be within the next 12 years.

It is hoped that if successful, the mission will not only represent the first time humans have landed on an asteroid but will also open the door to a new era of space exploration.

The full gallery of images released by NASA are available to view - here.

Source: NASA | Comments (13)

Tags: Asteroid, NASA

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by Merc14 on 26 August, 2013, 14:41
At the Virginia Air and Space Center you can se one of the test Orion capsules and the Apollo 12 CM right next to each other. They are very similar in appearance but Orion is, obviously, larger and much more technologically advanced. I guess budgety constraints dictate an "If it ain''t broke, don't fix it." attitude and the capsule is just to get you to something bigger, as it was with Apollo, but one wonders what the other groups, who had presumably competed for the final design, had come up with. Dragon is also similar in shape to Apollo.
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer on 26 August, 2013, 15:13
Don't forget, I'm sure there will be people claiming it's a hoax, just like the moon landings.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Merc14 on 26 August, 2013, 15:26
Oh I am sure there will be and a bunch of them post here at UM daily
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 26 August, 2013, 19:23
Why? The Apollo capsule was designed for high speed re-entry from missions beyond Earth orbit, it's design was optimised for that. As the Orion capsule is designed to do the same job it is not surprising that they look similar. And exactly how is landing on hard land safer than landing on water? There is a reason the diving boards are always over swimming pools and never over solid rock. To land Orion on land would require larger parachutes and a retro-rocket system. The much smaller Soyuz capsule manages this, but even then the astronauts couches have to have a shock absorber system... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Merc14 on 26 August, 2013, 19:40
Navy practicing recovery of an Orion capsule by pulling it into the well deck of teh USS Arlington, an LPD. Once inside teh well deck the ship raises and the capsule is safe an dry. Certanly a better way then trying to fish it out of the ocean with a helo. Not sure what sea states would preclude this type of recovery but i'd guess they wouldn't land if the seas were that rough. Sea surface conditions are one of the downsides of water based recoveries but the up sides are many as listed above.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 26 August, 2013, 21:01
There is a topic on this here: . Unlike a mission to Earth orbit, not landing is not an option. On a mission to the Moon or to an asteroid the Orion will have committed to re-entry several days earlier. On a mission returning from Mars it could be several months earlier. Fortunately there is an awful lot of ocean and the Orion would land in alternative zone or even a different ocean.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Merc14 on 26 August, 2013, 22:22
The problem is to cover all alternate recovery sites you'd need to tie up 3 or 4 Navy ships for every recovery. Mars missions or asteroid recovery is a big deal and would warrant that kind of commitment but this capsule is also the workhorse craft that will launch relatively often over the course of the year. Of course, returning from ISS allows a lot more freedom for selecting a return window.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 27 August, 2013, 18:48
Absolute rubbish, sorry Merc but you don't know what you are talking about. The Orion is for deep space exploration, nothing more, nothing less. The workhorse craft will be one or more of the vehicles developed through the Commercial Crew Program, that's the Boeing CST-100, the SpaceX Dragon and/or the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser. These are the vehicles which NASA will use for low Earth Orbit and for ferrying flights to the ISS. These are the craft which will launch relatively often over the course of a year.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Merc14 on 27 August, 2013, 19:38
You are correct. I didn't relize it was a deep space exploration only vehicle. Thanks, I learned something!
Comment icon #13 Posted by Hatake Kakashi on 27 August, 2013, 21:10
NASA I agree... If anything, NASA should receive much more funding than it currently has. Space is the only answer to the survival of the human race.

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