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Space & Astronomy

NASA plans to give the moon its own moon

By T.K. Randall
March 26, 2015 · Comment icon 42 comments

The mission will see a spacecraft grab a boulder from an asteroid. Image Credit: NASA
Robotic grapples will be used to place a boulder from a large asteroid in to orbit around the moon.
NASA had been previously planning to snag an entire asteroid and bring it in to near-Earth orbit, but now it appears that this idea has been scrapped in favor of retrieving only a small piece of one and then placing it in to orbit around the moon instead.

The proposed mission would see a spacecraft fly to a nearby asteroid and use robotic grapples to pick up a boulder and relocate it. The exact target has yet to be determined however it is expected to be based on the object's size, rotation, shape and orbit.
Known as ARM (Asteroid Redirect Mission), the project is expected to cost somewhere around $12.5 billion and will launch in 2020. Once it arrives at the asteroid the spacecraft will spend several months searching for a good boulder to use before deploying its grapples.

One of the main goals of the mission will be to test what NASA calls "planetary defense techniques", methods that could one day be used to prevent an apocalyptic asteroid from hitting us.

The space agency is also hoping to launch a manned mission to the asteroid by 2025 with the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars at some point in the 2030s.



Source: Register | Comments (42)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #33 Posted by KariW 9 years ago
That part was directed more at the people who think everything nasa does is a waste of money. As for not liking what this administration has done, you mean you have a problem with raising NASA's budget? Not canceling the James Webb telescope? The only reason I responded was to make it absolutely clear that I have always been a big supporter of NASA. Please forgive me if I misunderstood that the rest of the post as not meant for me, as it was posted in a quote directed at me.
Comment icon #34 Posted by H132 9 years ago
NASA does all kinds of stuff and keeps it a secret from the public while conspiring to hide information about otherworldly intelligent species by exploiting the media and covering up their findings. Then of course they have nothing better to do in the meantime so they announce "We're gonna go get a rock". Oh yeah.. no secret agenda behind this one.
Comment icon #35 Posted by H132 9 years ago
Earth will likely capture it and there will be a disaster... wtf? Considering the size of it, it would just burn up in our atmosphere and explode anyway. But if it does hit the earth and destroy us all, I say BRING IT ON!!! Earth has gotten boring lately anyway.
Comment icon #36 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 9 years ago
NASA does all kinds of stuff and keeps it a secret from the public while conspiring to hide information about otherworldly intelligent species by exploiting the media and covering up their findings. Then of course they have nothing better to do in the meantime so they announce "We're gonna go get a rock". Oh yeah.. no secret agenda behind this one.
Comment icon #37 Posted by fldinosaur 9 years ago
Minera...that was the first thought I had. "planetary defense techniques" ... right. Leave it to today's NASA bone heads to drop us from being the leader in space exploration to spending billions on a rock tow truck!
Comment icon #38 Posted by schizoid78 9 years ago
But the big question is : ẀHY NOT A BASE ON THE MOON?????? A base on the moon would prove a lot, prove that we can live in an harsh environment (much evil than on Mars), prove that we can colonize another sizeable space body, prove that we can survive far away from earth atmosphere. So what is the heck with asteroid? To start with, a lot of small but very dangerous asteroid cannot be detected in advance. Also the moon is just a three days trip with 60-70 technology, Mars is 6 months with current technology. SO, why NASA should spend 12.5 billions on something as unrelevant as an asteroid. We... [More]
Comment icon #39 Posted by ChrLzs 9 years ago
NASA does all kinds of stuff and keeps it a secret from the public while conspiring to hide information about otherworldly intelligent species by exploiting the media and covering up their findings. Then of course they have nothing better to do in the meantime so they announce "We're gonna go get a rock". Oh yeah.. no secret agenda behind this one. For instance? How do you reconcile that with the fact that a great deal of what Nasa is into these days is partnering with other space agencies, and it also hives out the collection and processing of a lot of it's data to them, universities etc, so ... [More]
Comment icon #40 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 9 years ago
just how would that affect our planet? What about water levels or weather. My guess is they want it for spying the dark side of the moon..for strategic purposes. When it comes to common sense NASA has none and other nations should be consulted in their grandiose plan since at the moment earth's inhabitants have no place to go if things go wrong. It wouldn't effect the Earth in any measurable way. Could you please elaborate on why you think that a small rock in Moon orbit could have any measurable effect on Earths water levels and weather ? If you wanted to "spy" on the far side of the Moon (th... [More]
Comment icon #41 Posted by stevemagegod 9 years ago
Wow! I can see those dollar $igns now! Thats why i dont see this happening.
Comment icon #42 Posted by ChrLzs 9 years ago
H132, I see you've been back, but didn't think it worthwhile to back up your claims? I'll repeat the question... For instance? How do you reconcile that with the fact that a great deal of what Nasa is into these days is partnering with other space agencies, and it also hives out the collection and processing of a lot of it's data to them, universities etc, so it isn't even the first agency to see what comes back from all those cameras and instruments... So how about you take off the shiny hat and give us your best proof that they are hiding information. What info, what mission, what evidence..... [More]


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