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Capturing an Asteroid

April 17, 2013

nasa-logo1NASA plans to capture an asteroid!6a00d8341bf67c53ef014e8b2636e9970d-800wi

This is not science fiction – NASA has plans to launch a rocket carrying a probe that will go and capture an asteroid, drag it back towards the earth and put it in orbit around the moon.

 

The asteroid they plan to capture will be about 25 feet wide – anything bigger will be too heavy and too difficult to bring back. The probe will inflate a giant balloon around the asteroid, and then it will fire 2013-04-17 02:25:54 +00001its rockets to bring the asteroid towards the moon. When the asteroid is near the moon the probe will fire rockets one last time to send the asteroid into orbit, just like a satellite. You can watch a really cool animation of how they will do this by clicking on the picture at right.

 

You may wonder why they want to do this. The main reason is because they want to learn how to extract water and minerals from the asteroid. That’s important if we want to send people to Mars and other planets – then they don’t need to carry these things with them. And if we can start mining asteroids we can get a lot more minerals without digging up the earth.

asteroid-retrieval-kiss-studyThe other reason is that they want to learn how to deflect asteroids that may hit the earth and do a lot of damage.

This may sound like science fiction, but it will soon be science fact.

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