US Might Try to Catch an Asteroid
Plan would bring million-pound rock close enough for exploration
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Mar 29, 2013 1:20 PM CDT
An asteroid is depicted approaching the Earth in this file image from NASA.   (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

(Newser) – President Obama's budget proposal will include funds for a wild plan to use a robotic spacecraft to snag an asteroid and drag it close enough to Earth for astronauts to land on and study it, Aviation Week reports. The project, as dreamed up in a study last year by the Keck Institute, would involve locating a small asteroid (small here meaning about 1.1 million pounds), flying to it using solar-electric propulsion, grabbing it with a 7-meter "capture bag," and dropping it off near the moon.

Obama's budget will slip $100 million into NASA's budget for the project, which is something of a drop in the bucket, given that Keck estimates that the project would ultimately cost $2.65 billion. In addition to its scientific applications, the technology developed for the mission would be useful for redirecting asteroids on collision courses with Earth.

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Showing 3 of 42 comments
Rational.-Anarchist
Apr 1, 2013 8:26 PM CDT
Get a REALLY big catcher's mitt, & let Obama snag it!
1492
Mar 31, 2013 1:31 AM CDT
We already know there are Rocks, Stones or Asteroids, or comets heading our way...ask the Russians... Our leaders have a way of not spooking the geese. The rest of the world is so broke, we would never think of asking them to help in the costs of world safety. 1942
Ration457
Mar 30, 2013 10:49 PM CDT
What a waste of money, an asteroid is just a dirty rock, i say we blow them up, the idea that we will have many chunks which would cause more damage is flawed, they forget the indy car effect, each piece would carry away a proportional amount of energy from the whole, so each fragment would have substantialy less mass and therefore less kinetic energy which would greatly increase the probability of it burning up in the atmosphere before it hits the ground ---- perhaps they are hoping to find that trillion trillion karat gold nugget to fund future missions to mars, incidentally how do i stake a claim on mars any ideas