NASA's FY2014 budget proposal includes "a plan to robotically capture a small near-Earth asteroid and redirect it safely to a stable lunar orbit where astronauts can visit and explore it," according to a news release by the space agency.
Scientists and engineers will be employing current and developing technology to locate:
- LARGE asteroids that pose a potential hazard to Earth
- SMALL asteroids that make good candidates for capture
The initiative will help keep NASA on point for the President's goal of getting humans to Mars in the 2030s. The project is expected to utilize high-powered solar electric propulsion technology, the agency's Space Launch System rocket, and Orion spacecraft.
VIDEO | ASTEROID INITIATIVE
Animation: Asteroid Retrieval Initiative