Earlier this year we learned how a group of space enthusiasts and entrepreneurs were planning to mine asteroids for trillions of dollars.
Now, scientists at CalTech working with NASA have outlined plans to ‘lasso’ a 500 ton asteroid, slow it down, and turn it into an intermediate launching pad for missions to Mars.
The report outlines a plan, currently being discussed by NASA and the White House, that will be ready for implementation in the 2020′s. This daunting project has been made possible by recent technological developments including precision celestial body identification and advanced spatial propulsion systems.
The plan to capture and manipulate a free traveling space rock will cost an estimated $2.1 billion. The idea is made possible by deploying an ‘asteroid capturing capsule’ via a rocket into the space between the Earth and the moon. The capsule will engulf the rock with a space bag equipped with drawstrings. Once captured, the capsule will be able to tow the rock into a gravitationally neutral spot, and then strategically position it to orbit the moon.
We will have in effect created a new space station that can be used and reused as a functional hub and launching pad for future space exploration. The project holds promise for our understanding of space and near-Earth objects and how we can use them to our advantage moving forward.
Trackback from your site.