NASA Considers Dragging Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon

NASA Considers Dragging Asteroid Into Orbit Around the Moon

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Asteroids hold a great deal of scientific potential, but with our limitations on space travel, it’s exceedingly difficult to reach them and complete the necessary research. What’s a rocket scientist to do? There’s one surprisingly sensible solution: if NASA can’t get to the mountain, bring the mountain to NASA. Or more specifically, drag it into orbit around the moon.

NASA is currently considering a plan put together by the Keck Institute for Space Studies to literally drag a small asteroid into high lunar orbit. The plan, if implemented, would begin by sending a slow-moving, robotic craft to a target asteroid approximately seven meters wide. After making some final calculations, the craft would catch the asteroid in a 10 by 15 meter bag and return to a high lunar orbit. The Keck Institute believes this project could be completed relatively easily by the 2020s, and would cost approximately $2.6 billion, only slightly more than the Curiosity Mars rover project.

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