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Missions to come
One of the biggest upcoming asteroid threats found is from 500-yard wide "1999 RQ36." It has a 1 in 2,400 chance of impacting Earth in the late 22nd century. NASA plans to send the OSIRIS-REx to land on the asteroid and take samples for further study. It is expected to launch in 2016, arrive in 2018, and work until 2021, then return to Earth with its findings and samples. Above is the sample collector.
NASA is already studying asteroids. After traveling 1.7 billion miles over four years, NASA's Dawn spacecraft began in 2011 sending images of the asteroid Vesta back to Earth. This is the first image sent when the probe was about 3,200 miles from the asteroid.
There could be gold in that rock
NASA isn't the only one with an eye on asteroids. Private companies are emerging, such as Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources which is funded by big names such as Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Charles Simonyi, filmmaker James Cameron and Ross Perot Jr. The companies have announced plans to land on nearby asteroids, mine for precious metals, and return them to Earth.