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NASA Space Science

NASA Funds Projects For Asteroid-Capture Plan 65

An anonymous reader writes: NASA has announced funding for 18 different projects aimed at developing an asteroid retrieval mission. "The agency is working on two concepts for the mission. The first concept would fully capture a very small asteroid in free space and the other would retrieve a boulder off of a much larger asteroid. Both concepts would redirect an asteroid mass less than 10 meters in size to orbit the moon. Astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft launched on the Space Launch System (SLS) would rendezvous with the captured asteroid mass in lunar orbit and collect samples for return to Earth." Astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope have also identified and measured the size of a candidate near-earth asteroid. It measures roughly six meters in diameter, and seems to be held together lightly, possible as a "pile of rubble."
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NASA Funds Projects For Asteroid-Capture Plan

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  • by Squidlips ( 1206004 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @01:24PM (#47283043)
    This yet another lame attempt by the all-powerful manned-spaceflight lobby at NASA to supply pork to politically powerful districts such as Houston. The SLS has been called the Rocket to Nowhere and this is an attempt to justify it. All this fooling around with an asteroid could be done for a fraction of the cost with robotic probes. And there is little gain scientifically from this mission. The NASA administrator Bolden, a big-time manned spaceflight guy, has said that there will be no more flagship planetary missions (such as major missions to Mars or Europa), but he is more than willing to fund this asteroid capture stunt. So he wants to sacrifice science for pork. Next year NASA/JPL will have robotic probes reach Pluto/Charon and Ceres, but all the administrator can talk about is this stupid asteroid stunt.
  • by Squidlips ( 1206004 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @01:29PM (#47283073)
    All the exciting missions lately have been robotic such as the Curiosity (MSL) Mars Rover, Cassini, Voyager and next year the Pluto/Charon and Ceres missions. NASA management, all ex-astronauts and fighter jocks, hate this because they want to push their manned pork such as the SLS and Orion, but the public just does not care; there is no science or excitement there. This asteriod missions, which has no scientific value, is intended to get the public excited about manned missions.....snore...
  • Re:One small step... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @01:45PM (#47283219)
    Manned space flight, including human exploration of Mars is a pointless waste of time and money. Mars is an extremely hostile environment, and humans have no business being there, except as a brief stunt.

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