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."
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Source: National Geographic
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