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NASA announces asteroid plans

Posted on Thursday, 11 April, 2013 | Comment icon 15 comments | News tip by: Waspie_Dwarf

Image credit: NASA

NASA has confirmed its long-expected asteroid retrieval mission as a precursor to a manned trip.

The plan would involve identifying an interesting asteroid and then using a spacecraft to bring it in to orbit around the Moon. The ambitious endeavor would then see a manned mission to land on the asteroid and for astronauts to disembark and walk on its surface. There are also plans to explore asteroid mining possibilities and other concepts. The mission is a stepping stone towards the eventual goal of sending humans to Mars.

"This mission represents an unprecedented technological feat that will lead to new scientific discoveries and technological capabilities and help protect our home planet," said NASA administrator Charles Bolden. "This asteroid initiative brings together the best of NASA's science, technology and human exploration efforts to achieve the president's goal of sending humans to an asteroid by 2025."

"NASA wants to identify an interesting asteroid flying around deep space, figure out a way to capture the spinning and hard-to-grab orb, nudge it into our planetary region and then set it into orbit around the moon, the agency announced Wednesday."

  View: Full article |  Source: National Geographic

  Discuss: View comments (15)



Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by coolguy on 12 April, 2013, 3:40
Sounds like an old 50's science fiction movie to me. Nasa dont want to put us in space but they wanna land on an asteroid lol
Comment icon #7 Posted by krypter3 on 12 April, 2013, 5:03
50 years later We can hardly even get back, and now we want to try and get on a moving target. Anyone else think Nasa's eyes are getting greedy. We should be focusing on the moon, if we could set up something there then it would be so much easier to launch space missions no?
Comment icon #8 Posted by skookum on 12 April, 2013, 10:03
Yeah I am a bit baffled. If it is going to be in orbit around the moon, why not just go back to the moon. Far more interesting.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 13 April, 2013, 9:59
Obama has directed NASA to send astronauts to an asteroid by 2025, the reasoning for this is that we need to examine one up close to learn the best way to protect the Earth from them, so the mission itself makes sense. The problem for NASA is that to visit a Near Earth asteroid in it's own orbit would require a mission lasting several months and Orion simply will not be ready for such long missions by then. Bringing the asteroid to lunar orbit will reduce the manned part of the mission to days rather than months, making it achievable within the time frame and safer for the crew, so agai... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Merc14 on 15 April, 2013, 16:16
Why not put it in earth orbit? I am guessing it has something to do with orbital speed.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 April, 2013, 17:28
Technically the orbit chosen is an Earth orbit as it is likely to be placed in one of the Lagrangian points, where the Earth and the Moon's gravitational fields effectively cancel each other out. Such an orbit is very stable, so there is no danger of the asteroid dropping out of orbit and hitting a city.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Merc14 on 15 April, 2013, 21:12
I didn't realize it was being put at a Lagrangian point. Thanks.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 15 April, 2013, 21:45
Comment icon #14 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 April, 2013, 22:36
Comment icon #15 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 April, 2013, 22:52

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