Senator: NASA Wants to Snag an Asteroid

And put it in orbit around the moon to study


Tucked inside President Barack Obama's proposed federal budget for next fiscal year is about $100 million to jump start a program scientists say is the next step towards humans establishing a permanent settlement in space.

That, at least, is what U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says we're likely to see when the White House unveils its fiscal year 2014 budget around the middle of next week. Nelson has been briefed by scientists. And NASA's decision to ask for funding for the project was first reported by Aviation Week magazine in an article published last week.

In a nutshell, the plan in NASA's hands calls for catching an asteroid with a robotic spacecraft and towing it back toward Earth, where it would then be placed in a stable orbit around the moon.

Next, astronauts aboard America's Orion capsule, powered into space by a new monster rocket, would travel to the asteroid where there could be mining activities, research into ways of deflecting an asteroid from striking Earth, and testing to develop technology for a trip to deep space and Mars.

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  1. Can we catch a space rock and drop it on that waste of oxygen known as the District of Columbia?

    1. No, because that wouldn’t be an enormous waste of taxpayer money, it would actually be a great value at any price.

  2. So we should just trust the government to park a large, potentially world-ending asteroid next to our moon and assume that they’ve thought through all of the possible catastrophic consequences if they miscalculate? Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we generally want to keep asteroids as far away from our planet as possible? And won’t adding another planetary body to our immediate vicinity have unintended effects on our planet? If the moon’s gravity affects our planet as is, what’s adding another large body going to do?

    I’m not a scientist at all…but this seems a subject that requires debate among more people than NASA bureaucrats.

    1. It would have to be a very large asteroid to have much effect on the Moon’s orbit.

      Maybe they just shouldn’t do it because they have no business wasting huge piles of taxpayer money.

  3. This dream of mining asteroids is ridiculous. There are more than enough minerals here on earth that can be gotten cheaper and in a much safer manner. The only impediment to doing so is politics and bassackward greenie bullshit.

    I am trying to come up with a scenario wherein it is profitable to capture and mine an asteroid. Nope, cant do it. But then to ideologues profit and efficiency are meaningless so no doubt they will try it.

    Oh wait. Profit for me has a different meaning than it does to them. For me it means a greater overall return from an operation than it takes to start and run it. For them it means a pretense to funnel rivers of taxpayer cash to themselves and their cronies. In that sense it will be massively profitable.

    1. Ain’t that the truth.

  4. Do you have Asteroids?

    My dad does. Sometimes he can’t even sit on the toilet.

  5. I see that Obama and NASA want to spend $105 million now, and $2.6 billion in total, just to snag a steroid. What’s with all this wild, reckless, and un-needed over-spending?!?! I am QUITE sure that Barry Bonds or Lance Armstrong or any of a large number of our sports super-heroes today, could arrange for NASA to meet with their dealers, and snag a steroid, for FAR less than THAT!

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