NASA to bag asteroid; send astronauts to visit

NASA to bag asteroid; send astronauts to visit

Summary: NASA's next big project will be to send robots to tow a nearby asteroid where astronauts will study the space rock.

TOPICS: Nasa / Space

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  • (Image: Rick Sternbach/Kepler Institute of Space Science)

    Asteroid plans

    Plans are to nab a 500-tonne, 7- to 10-meter-wide (25- to 33-foot-wide) asteroid.

  • (Image: NASA)

    Space Launch System

    This asteroid project will also be an opportunity to test out the next generation of space exploration equipment. Here's an image of what the 70-metric-tonne Space Launch System is expected to look like. The goal is to make this the most powerful rocket in history in order to launch astronauts, equipment, and satellites into space. The Exploration Flight Test-1 is set for 2014, and the project it is expected to be ready by 2017.

  • (Image: NASA)

    Orion crew module

    Here's an image of what the Orion crew module might look in orbit. Its first test launch is expected to be in 2014. Astronauts could ride this craft to the asteroid and float from the capsule to land on it.

Topic: Nasa / Space

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  • From the article: "Moon? Been there, done that."

    Really? We have indeed been there. But, have we "done that"? Why not establish a manned base on the Moon before we humans go traipsing off into the rest of the solar system?

    I'm sure that there's much to learn about establishing and maintaining a permanent base on the surface of a planetary body and there's likely a boatload to learn about the Moon too. Seriously, have we already concluded that there aren't water and mineral sources on the Moon? Plus, it's relatively close should a rescue mission become necessary.

    Moon, first. Mars, second, or perhaps third if we really want to play with asteroids. And place the asteroid into the Moon's orbit and study it there.

    P.S. Also from the article:
    "it has been estimated that a single asteroid could contain more plutoni[u]m than has been mined in the history of Earth."

    Plutonium? We've got more Plutonium now than we know what to do with. Anyway, nobody mines plutonium on Earth. Plutonium gets created either by design or as a byproduct of [hopefully] controlled fission of enriched Uranium.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • I agree with you

      I am so disgusted with this administration. He has mentioned an asteroid before and got poor response. I guess nasa figures if this is the only way we can get money. Oh well.

      If we want fuel for a nuclear reactor you should be going Thorium
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  • seriously?

    So Nasa has plans to create a 'slingshot for asteroids'?
    I applaud the plans, because I love science ...

    But North-Korea may find these ideas a bit disconcerting. And the US may find it hard to tell other nations not to develop inter-continental weapons whilst playing ping-pong with really big rocks above their heads.
  • Stupid question

    Why is a U.S. Senator announcing future NASA projects? Isn't that the job of NASA itself?

    It makes perfect sense for Sen. Nelson to be a NASA booster, but that's as far as it should go.
    John L. Ries