PHOENIX — Instead of aiming for the moon, NASA’s looking for an asteroid.
If lawmakers approve a proposed mission, an unmanned spacecraft will capture a small asteroid and put in in the moon’s orbit so future astronauts can visit and study it in the future.
“You have to find the asteroid, then you’re going to send a probe to it, you’re going to grab it, you’re going to capture it and then you’re gonna tow it back home,” Mike George from the Arizona Science Center Planetarium explained Monday.
The project is estimated to cost $2.6 billion dollars. If all goes as planned, astronauts could be visiting the asteroid as early as 2021.
George said the research that can come from the mission makes it worthwhile.
“If we can bring back an asteroid and we can study it, we can find out more about asteroids and maybe how we can deflect those if we know about them well in advance,” hr said.
George said the asteroid will stay in place where it is put and will not pose a danger to Earth. The ideal rock is described by NASA as 20 to 30 feet in diameter and weighing 500 tons. It would be captured in a cup-shaped container described as an “inflatable asteroid capture bag.”
The White House will include $105 million to begin work on the project in the 2014 budget.
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- 12 things to watch before the Oscars
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Best and worst of Super Bowl commercials
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night