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."
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Source: New Scientist
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