NASA scientists are planning to capture a 500 ton asteroid , relocate it and turn it into a space station for astronauts on their way to Mars. It would be the first time a celestial object has ever been moved by humans, a media report said.
The White House’s Office of Science and technology will consider the $2.6 billion plan in the coming weeks as it prepares to set its space exploration agenda for the next decade.
The feasibility is enabled by three key developments: the ability to discover and characterize an adequate number of sufficiently small near-Earth asteroids for capture and return; the ability to implement sufficiently powerful solar electric propulsion systems to enable transportation of the captured asteroid; and the proposed human presence in cislunar space in the 2020s enabling exploration and exploitation of the returned asteroid.
From here space explorers would have a stationary base from which to launch trips deeper into space. “The idea of exploiting the natural resources of asteroids dates back over a hundred years, but only now has the technology become available to make this idea a reality,” the report said.
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