NASA May Begin Capturing Asteroids by 2014
NASA’s 2014 budget request may include plans to send a robotic probe into deep space to capture an asteroid and bring it back within reach of astronauts flying on the agency’s Orion deep space capsule.
The mission was first proposed last year by the Keck Institute for Space Studies at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. That study revolved around an asteroid capture and return mission that would snag a 25-foot wide space rock and place it in high lunar orbit by 2025.
The Keck study cited a near-Earth asteroid capture mission as a potential precursor to manned Mars exploration.
Two U.S. companies have already announced plans to send private missions to asteroids as space mining ventures.
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