What’s The Asteroid Capture Mission Going to Look Like? NASA’s Starting Its Review

Article written: 1 Aug , 2013
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015
by

It’s still unclear if NASA will receive Congressional funding or authorization to do an asteroid retrieval proposal backed by President Barack Obama’s administration, but as missions take time to plan, the agency is moving ahead with its work for now.

NASA just did a mission formulation review this week to look at some internal studies on the mission. It also is starting to wade through hundreds of ideas the space community submitted concerning the mission.

“With the mission formulation review complete, agency officials now will begin integrating the most highly-rated concepts into an asteroid mission baseline concept to further develop in 2014,” NASA stated. The agency was light on details, but more information should be forthcoming when the process is further along.

Concept of Spacecraft with Asteroid Capture Mechanism Deployed. Credit: NASA.

Concept of Spacecraft with Asteroid Capture Mechanism Deployed. Credit: NASA.

The agency’s fiscal 2014 budget proposal suggests robotically picking up an asteroid, steering it closer to Earth, and putting it in a safe orbit where probes and possibly astronauts could visit. The budget is still being moved through Congressional committees and we won’t know until later this year just how much money will be available for NASA, and what initiatives the agency will be allowed to do.

For more information, be sure to read this past article from Universe Today editor Nancy Atkinson looking in detail at NASA’s asteroid retrieval mission. It includes information on what technology could be used, and the history of NASA’s quest to explore asteroids.

Space rocks have hit the headlines several times this year, particularly when one exploded over the area of Chelyabinsk, Russia earlier in 2013. NASA and several other groups have ongoing searches for asteroids and other small bodies in our solar system to catalog and calculate the orbits for as many as they can find. No imminent threats are known.

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9 Responses

  1. cschur says

    While Im all for space exploration, I actually hope congress kills this one. Billions and billions of dollars to basically capture a meteor, and bring back a few shards of what we already have countless thousands of samples already in museum drawers. I would MUCH rather see this money put into lunar landing probes to scout the poles for ice. The potential for fuel, water, and a solid base cannot be overestimated! Do you not agree with me?

    Chris Schur

    • Asteroids and meteors are not the same by my knowledge, I guess they have different origins too.

    • Kevin Frushour says

      We may have plenty of samples that have already passed through our atmosphere, but we’re a little short on asteroid samples taken directly from space.

    • M Peter Selman says

      It is more costly and energy intensive to do those things on the moon. With near-earth asteroids offering better resources, with high science value, with less cost and energy requirements for access makes far more sense with NASA’s cash strapped budget. This one of the reasons why the lunar return was cancelled.

    • Sam says

      Asteroid mining has to be the only feasible method too make a direct profit from space exploration. The sooner we start in this direction, the better.

  2. Michael Waldrop says

    i think the one reason they really want to do this is because unlike a mission to mars or the moon, this one would pay for itself. if the estimates of the presious metal asteroids contain is true.

  3. lcrowell says

    This can’t be anything more than a meteoroid capture. The largest object we might be able to steer back to Earth is at most a few tons I should think. The object captured could be only at best about the size of Chelybinsk object that exploded over Siberia.

    LC

  4. bgrnathan says

    ASTEROIDS, COMETS, AND METEORS ORIGINATED FROM EARTH: In the Earth’s past there were powerful volcanic explosions propelling millions of tons of earth soil and rock (now asteroids and meteors which may contain organic molecules or organisms) into space. Read my popular Internet article, ANY LIFE ON MARS CAME FROM EARTH. The article explains how millions of tons of Earth soil may exist on Mars, and how debris we call asteroids and meteors could have originated from Earth. According to a Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p. 12 that quotes
    a NASA scientist, SEVEN MILLION tons of Earth soil may exist on Mars! How could
    this be possible? Read and find out.

    Even if the right chemicals exist, life cannot arise by chance. The
    molecules that make-up life have to be in a sequence, just like the letters
    found in a sentence.

    Scientist and creationist, Brian Thomas explains:

    “Astronomers measure comets’ masses and erosion rates to calculate potential lifespans.Sungrazing comets last fewer than 100,000 years.2 They thus confront
    secular astronomy which maintains that comets formed with the rest of the solar
    system billions of years ago. A solar system that old should have no remaining
    comets.

    How do secularists solve this dilemma?

    Reporting on Ison, The Independent said, “Comet Ison has taken
    millions of years to reach us travelling from the so-called Oort cloud – a
    reservoir of trillions and trillions of chunks of rock and ice, leftovers from
    the birth of the planets.”3

    Unfortunately, nobody has yet witnessed a single one of those
    “trillions and trillions of chunks.” Going strictly with observational science, the “so-called Oort cloud” may exist only in the reservoir of the human mind.

    Clearly, secular astronomers invented the Oort cloud to rescue their
    billions-of-years dogma from a disintegration process that limits a comet’s
    age—and thus the age of the Solar System—to thousands of years. When Ison
    becomes visible later this year, perhaps it will remind thoughtful viewers that
    the universe is quite young, just as Scripture teaches” (Brian Thomas, M.S., Science
    Writer at the Institute for Creation research).

    Check out my most recent Internet articles and sites: THE SCIENCE
    SUPPORTING CREATION and WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS (2nd Edition)

    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    B.A. Bible/Biology

    Author of popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED
    FROM GREEK ROOTS

    *I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period
    afterwards) defending creation before evolutionist science faculty and students
    at various colleges and universities. I’ve been privileged to be recognized in
    the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who in The East” for my writings
    on religion and science.

  5. bgrnathan says

    ASTEROIDS, COMETS, AND METEORS ORIGINATED FROM EARTH: In the Earth’s past there were powerful volcanic explosions propelling millions of tons of earth soil and rock (now asteroids and meteors which may contain organic molecules or organisms) into space. Read my popular Internet article, ANY LIFE ON MARS CAME FROM EARTH. The article explains how millions of tons of Earth soil may exist on Mars, and how debris we call asteroids and meteors could have originated from Earth. According to a Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p. 12 that quotes
    a NASA scientist, SEVEN MILLION tons of Earth soil may exist on Mars! How could
    this be possible? Read and find out.

    Even if the right chemicals exist, life cannot arise by chance. The
    molecules that make-up life have to be in a sequence, just like the letters
    found in a sentence.

    Scientist and creationist, Brian Thomas explains:

    “Astronomers measure comets’ masses and erosion rates to calculate potential lifespans. Sungrazing comets last fewer than 100,000 years.2 They thus confront
    secular astronomy which maintains that comets formed with the rest of the solar
    system billions of years ago. A solar system that old should have no remaining
    comets. How do secularists solve this dilemma?

    Reporting on Ison, The Independent said, “Comet Ison has taken
    millions of years to reach us travelling from the so-called Oort cloud – a
    reservoir of trillions and trillions of chunks of rock and ice, leftovers from
    the birth of the planets.”3

    Unfortunately, nobody has yet witnessed a single one of those
    “trillions and trillions of chunks.” Going strictly with
    observational science, the “so-called Oort cloud” may exist only in
    the reservoir of the human mind.

    Clearly, secular astronomers invented the Oort cloud to rescue their
    billions-of-years dogma from a disintegration process that limits a comet’s
    age—and thus the age of the Solar System—to thousands of years. When Ison
    becomes visible later this year, perhaps it will remind thoughtful viewers that
    the universe is quite young, just as Scripture teaches” (Brian Thomas, M.S., Science
    Writer at the Institute for Creation research).

    Check out my most recent Internet articles and sites: THE SCIENCE
    SUPPORTING CREATION and WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS (2nd Edition)

    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    B.A. Bible/Biology

    Author of popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED
    FROM GREEK ROOTS

    *I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period
    afterwards) defending creation before evolutionist science faculty and students
    at various colleges and universities. I’ve been privileged to be recognized in
    the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who in The East” for my writings
    on religion and science.

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