NASA Looking for Funding to Snag Asteroid

CommanderFrank

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NASA will be including a proposal for $100Million funding to grab an asteroid from its high orbit and return it to a moon orbit for study, according to a report from Aviation Week. The project, once launched, could take up to 10 years to complete with a total cost of $2.6 Billion dollars.

The mission as outlined comes across as more of a technology demonstration and practice run than anything else, although there is obviously the opportunity for real science in the capturing and up-close observation of an asteroid.
 
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why you'd need to bring it closer i dunno. you're gonna have to go there to get it, why not study it where it is, in its own orbit. oh i know, it'll be like japanese whaling, "research". any buyers lined up to take care of it afterwards?
 
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why you'd need to bring it closer i dunno. you're gonna have to go there to get it, why not study it where it is, in its own orbit. oh i know, it'll be like japanese whaling, "research". any buyers lined up to take care of it afterwards?

Probably because it's cheaper to bring it back and make lots of closer trips to do studies than it is to make the long trip in the current orbit it's in.

They should start a kick starter project for it. I'd pledge some money for this.
 

Kueller

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why you'd need to bring it closer i dunno. you're gonna have to go there to get it, why not study it where it is, in its own orbit. oh i know, it'll be like japanese whaling, "research". any buyers lined up to take care of it afterwards?
Depends on the composition. If they snag even a modestly sized metallic asteroid, there will absolutely be implications for the global metal markets and economy as a whole.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like something a crazy Russian billionaire would fund...
 

compudocs

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To hell with putting it into orbit around the moon, just take a few extra million and find a way to land the sucker here on earth. Would be cheaper in the long run I bet than multiple trips to study it out there. Plus there is always the bonus of it having some organism on it that once introduced to our atmosphere will rapidly evolve and enslave/kill us all :D
 

prndll

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Funding can be had through the Russian Embassy. (that was easy)
 

sfsuphysics

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Great... lets move asteroids from their orbits to study them.... meanwhile oil spill in Arkansas
 

heatlesssun

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To hell with putting it into orbit around the moon, just take a few extra million and find a way to land the sucker here on earth. Would be cheaper in the long run I bet than multiple trips to study it out there. Plus there is always the bonus of it having some organism on it that once introduced to our atmosphere will rapidly evolve and enslave/kill us all :D

This would never fly (pun intended) in case something went wrong and the thing crashed on Earth.
 

heatlesssun

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Great... lets move asteroids from their orbits to study them.... meanwhile oil spill in Arkansas

The oil industry is supposed to be funding its own R&D into oil spills and supposedly is redoubling its efforts after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. However, doesn't seem like they are make a lot progress and haven't for decades now.
 

CreepyUncleGoogle

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Great... lets move asteroids from their orbits to study them.... meanwhile oil spill in Arkansas

Well, if Arkansas could be bothered to contribute something meaningful to society, people might notice or care. Arkansas should be asking itself, "What can I do to enhance culture and civilization here in the Savage South?" and not worrying itself over trivial things like an occasional oil spill.
 

prndll

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Well, if Arkansas could be bothered to contribute something meaningful to society, people might notice or care. Arkansas should be asking itself, "What can I do to enhance culture and civilization here in the Savage South?" and not worrying itself over trivial things like an occasional oil spill.

They gave us the Clintons....what more do ya want?
 

heatlesssun

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It's like 7 meters wide. It would most likely burn up in the atmosphere....

Probably, but still it's a risk that I doubt anyone would want to take especially on a first attempt. Otherwise they probably would like to put in Earth orbit.
 
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Probably, but still it's a risk that I doubt anyone would want to take especially on a first attempt. Otherwise they probably would like to put in Earth orbit.

Did you read the article at all? NASA is going to take the risk, if it gets the funding. :rolleyes:
 

CreepyUncleGoogle

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They gave us the Clintons....what more do ya want?

That is true, but why does it always have to come back to you guys and your Hillary fetish. She is attractive and seems very smart, but you'd think you would pick someone single like Martha Stewart or Betty White to get gushy over.
 

prndll

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I wouldn't consider any of them to be attractive or particularly smart....deceptive, sneaky, underhanded, and two-faced maybe. The only thing Betty White has is the staple of "The Golden Girls", If not for that, she would be nothing. Martha Stewart is just too all about herself.

You can have them all.
 

sfsuphysics

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Not sure how that is NASA's problem.

*sigh* I'm not saying the oil spill is NASA's problems, I'm saying here's a company doing something that they're supposedly experts at doing and they manage to fuck things up. An oil spill is a small ecological disaster, an asteroid fuck up is way worse.
 
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*sigh* I'm not saying the oil spill is NASA's problems, I'm saying here's a company doing something that they're supposedly experts at doing and they manage to fuck things up. An oil spill is a small ecological disaster, an asteroid fuck up is way worse.

Its a 7m NEA, it would burn up in the atmosphere. :rolleyes:
 

Ocean

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i wonder how many parachutes they could affix to the asteroid just to capture it on earth.

it would be really spiffy if it was 7 meters of 5% gold.
 
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Dont think th problem is getting it to land softly, its getting it through the atmosphere in one piece. Its also only 7m, pretty sure it would fit in the shuttles bay.
 

Hornet

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*sigh* I'm not saying the oil spill is NASA's problems, I'm saying here's a company doing something that they're supposedly experts at doing and they manage to fuck things up. An oil spill is a small ecological disaster, an asteroid fuck up is way worse.

Since they are bringing the object into moon's orbit, if anything went wrong it would crash into the moon because that's where they will be aiming the object at.

It could actually be a good practice for NASA to see how able we are in controlling these stuff. Someday we may need to control asteroids that are aiming for Earth.
 

octoberasian

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*sigh* I'm not saying the oil spill is NASA's problems, I'm saying here's a company doing something that they're supposedly experts at doing and they manage to fuck things up. An oil spill is a small ecological disaster, an asteroid fuck up is way worse.

There are inherent risks in everything. The question one must ask: Is it a risk worth taking?

As an example from yesterday, the oil spill in Arkansas does highlight an issue with the Keystone pipeline proposal. There are a lot of risks to the environment and the area where people live in if the pipe were to burst. Its long-term risk is not just environmental but also economical. Do you build it to provide local and state economies with new jobs and revenue maintaining and operating the pipeline? Or, do you not build it because of its more devastating risks to the environment?

These are things to ask yourself. On one hand, it's good for the economy given our sorry state the US is currently in. On the other hand, there might be too big of a risk in building it, a "screw-the-environment-for-the-economy" kind of thing. In the end: Does the good outweigh the bad to go forward with it?

The same thing with anything we do in space. There are risks. However, if we do not take the risks worth taking, how will we get anywhere or move forward in our exploration and understanding of space. If we didn't take the risk to go to the Moon, we wouldn't have landed there.

Capture and retrieval of a near Earth asteroid (NEA) is one of those risks as well. There are a lot of inherent risks to it, but the benefits we can get from it can be great.

I see several potential pluses from such a mission:
  • If we can capture an asteroid and put it into a Lagrange orbit around Earth or Moon, we could use it as a mid-way station of sorts for launching and preparing spacecraft beyond the orbit of Earth. Since it's permanently affixed in such an orbit, it'd stay there and we can just ferry supplies to and from it. And, eventually build spacecraft and launch them from there, and possibly use it as a resupply point.
  • Similar to above, but it can also be used not just for scientific reasons but economical ones. Pulling small asteroids into stable orbits to be mined for their minerals and ferry them back to Earth or process and smelt them in space can have tremendous impact in the world's mineral and raw materials economy. A lot of money can be made from that if NASA can show this as a first step towards that goal.
  • We can also analyze the asteroid better if put into a closer, more stable orbit such as a Lagrange point. By studying it, we could have a better understanding of an asteroid's mineral composition by sending probes and robotic rovers to land on it. It'd be cheaper on fuel because it's closer to Earth and won't be as expensive as other asteroid-contact missions that are much farther away from Earth.
  • Saving Earth is another potential plus from this. What if we can use other asteroids to sling shot or divert or influence the movements of other asteroids that may come in direct line of sight of Earth. Basic idea of using another astronomical body's gravitational pull to influence or redirect another asteroid if we can place small ones in a correct path.
So, there are a lot of benefits to this, but the risk will always be there like that bratty kid that wants to ruin everything at your family gathering.
 

maademperor

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sweet, then if an invading force tries to take our planet we can just hit thier mother ship with the asteroid that was cleverly placed into an orbit of our choice :D
 

Azhar

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Probably because it's cheaper to bring it back and make lots of closer trips to do studies than it is to make the long trip in the current orbit it's in.

They should start a kick starter project for it. I'd pledge some money for this.

Cheaper and safer too - get it away from other asteroids that would endanger future missions.
 

Azhar

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Great... lets move asteroids from their orbits to study them.... meanwhile oil spill in Arkansas

So.... let's take the money out of the military's budget? Or don't, but hire the Army Corp of Engineers to clean up?
 

sfsuphysics

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Since they are bringing the object into moon's orbit, if anything went wrong it would crash into the moon because that's where they will be aiming the object at.
Yeah, except that's may not be the case depending upon how much they potentially screw up orbit. Remember Apollo 13... that went to orbit the moon but ended up coming back to Earth.
 
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Yeah, except that's may not be the case depending upon how much they potentially screw up orbit. Remember Apollo 13... that went to orbit the moon but ended up coming back to Earth.

Your user title fits. :eek:
 

bh192012

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Seems like we should be flying sample missions if samples are what we want.

Seems like we should be upgrading the space station for long term human space activity (CAM module among others) if that's what we want.

The porposed mission in the article is pointless.
 

k1pp3r

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Its amazing what NASA can do for 100 Million, and amazing what the US Gov can't do with 100 Billion
 
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