How to capture an asteroid


According to a Florida senator, U.S. President Obama’s proposed federal budget for the coming fiscal year will include a line item for catching an asteroid and placing it in orbit around the moon. The budget is expected to be released later this week. There’s speculation that this proposal is in response to the recent realization by many that Earth is vulnerable to strikes from asteroids. This realization followed the February 15, 2013 asteroid explosion in the atmosphere over Russia on the same day that a second asteroid, traveling from a different direction in space, passed closer to Earth than some communications satellites.

A statement from the office of Florida Senator Bill Nelson said:

“In a nutshell, the plan in NASA’s hands calls for catching an asteroid with a robotic spacecraft and towing it back toward Earth, where it would then be placed in a stable orbit around the moon.”

The idea is that would then travel to the asteroid where, the statement said:

“… there could be mining activities, research into ways of deflecting an asteroid from striking Earth and testing to develop technology for a trip to deep space and Mars.”

Nelson, who is chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space, said this plan is similar to one suggested by experts at the California Institute of Technology last year. That plan proposed bringing a 500-ton asteroid closer to Earth. Obama supports NASA’s plan and is including about $100 million in his proposed budget to kick it off. Of course the real mission will be more like $2.6 billion.


9 comments on “How to capture an asteroid

  1. I’m not sure that the government should allocate 2.6 billion dollars to capture an asteroid. However, if this does end up happening, then it will be interesting to see what type of information we can gather from the asteroid about the solar system and about how to protect out planet.


  2. This is crazy interesting! To think we have been talking about planets capturing satellites, and here we are, actually going to try to capture this asteroid and put it into an orbit around Earth. And the fact that we may be able to gather even more information is a little mind blowing.


  3. I think that is a really interesting mission. I can definitely see how that would be a useful thing to study. I didn’t even know that it was possible to capture an astroid. I wonder if having an astriod orbiting the moon would have effects on the Earth at all.


  4. It’s crazy how far science has come and it is actually a reality that we can accomplish something like this. I think we could really benefit from being able to study an asteroid more closely. We will have more insight into outer space and it can help protect us from possible future asteroids hitting Earth.


  5. This is crazy and super incredible. How can our technology can catch a asteroid and place it in orbit around the moon?. This is something I will follow. However, I think is a waste of our budget when it actually will cost 2.6 billion dollars. In this occasion I am for it. It is difficult to get funding from the government for this.

    Aurelio Miralda


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