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NASA to drag asteroid in to lunar orbit ?


Posted on Thursday, 3 January, 2013 | Comment icon 28 comments | News tip by: 27vet


Image credit: NASA

 
The US space agency is considering a plan to drag a small asteroid in to orbit around the Moon.

Ever since the Obama administration announced plans to send astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid there has been a lot of talk about how and when this would be accomplished. A potential stepping stone leading up to a manned Moon mission, sending humans to an asteroid is something that has never been attempted. The main problem, as with most manned space voyages, is that these bodies are quite a distance away. Researchers at the Keck Institute for Space Studies however may have come up with a way to solve this issue.

The team has proposed a mission that would involve the use of an unmanned robotic spacecraft that would fly out to a small asteroid of around 7m in width, capture it within a special bag and then drag it back to the Moon where it would be placed in high lunar orbit. The endeavor could take as long as ten years to complete and would cost $2.6 billion.

"Who says NASA has lost interest in the moon? Along with rumours of a hovering lunar base, there are reports that the agency is considering a proposal to capture an asteroid and drag it into the moon's orbit."

  View: Full article |  Source: New Scientist

  Discuss: View comments (28)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by Lava_Lady on 3 January, 2013, 17:47
I wonder what the point of putting the rock in the moons orbit would be? Why do we need or want that to happen?
Comment icon #20 Posted by CRIPTIC CHAMELEON on 3 January, 2013, 19:51
Hmm man sees big rock in space man captures big rock man puts big rock in orbit big rock plummets to earth major city wiped out thousands dead hmm interesting.
Comment icon #21 Posted by TheMolePatrol on 3 January, 2013, 19:55
Seems like an idea just being tossed around now, but I think it has some potential. I would imagine the point of getting an asteroid into orbit around the Moon would be to "contain" it. Then some undecided procedure carries out after. Maybe they'll send it to Earth's orbit to an orbiting mining station? Maybe they'll try and pull an Apollo/MSL style landing on the planet? That isn't the hard part, the hard part comes with harnessing and retrieving one of these bad boys haha.
Comment icon #22 Posted by TheMolePatrol on 3 January, 2013, 19:57
Sorry for double post, but what about if decades from now a reality show similar to Deadliest Catch or Gold Rush or something where they safely harness asteroids and bring them to mining station hahaha either they have a good season or not.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Darkwind on 4 January, 2013, 12:22
The right rock would be useful. Sound like a good idea to me.
Comment icon #24 Posted by zenfahr on 4 January, 2013, 15:44
Well at some point I think we would need to begin to build our ships in space. So mining an astroid may prove to be very benifical. Imagine being millions of miles away from earth, and having your starter go out on you. With the growning advances in 3D printing, I think its not such a far fetched notion to one day be able to fly to, capture, mine, smelt, and then build from astroids or satillites.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Uncle Sam on 6 January, 2013, 4:51
I thought rare earth materials were created by a intense pressures and temps created by a asteroid impact, reason why most rare earth materials are mined near asteroid impact sights here on earth.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Merc14 on 6 January, 2013, 4:57
I have no idea how they are created so you may be correct but I am sure there are a lot of exotic materials floating around the cosmos and I can fore see the day that mining the asteroid belt is big business. We may not see ot but I am pretty sure it will happen.
Comment icon #27 Posted by Hasina on 6 January, 2013, 5:10
Asteroids still impact each other. Sure you may not get the same temperatures like when they hit the atmosphere, but they're still traveling at extraordinary speeds.


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