White House 2014 budget allocates money to capture asteroid and tow it to moon
This artist's concept illustrates an asteroid belt around the bright star Vega. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
Tucked inside President Barack Obama's proposed federal budget for next fiscal year is about $100 million to jump start a program scientists say is the next step towards humans establishing a permanent settlement in space, according to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL).
The plan calls for NASA to catch an asteroid with a robotic spacecraft and tow it back toward Earth, where it would then be placed in a stable orbit around the moon. Astronauts could then travel to the asteroid aboard America's Orion capsule, which would be powered into space by a new monster rocket which is under development.
"This is part of what will be a much broader program," said Sen. Nelson, during a recent visit in Orlando. "The plan combines the science of mining an asteroid, along with developing ways to deflect one, along with providing a place to develop ways we can go to Mars," he added.
President Obama has already announced a goal of sending astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025. This plan would advance that date by four years to 2021, Nelson said.
Russia's space agency Roscosmos has also expressed an interest in joining the ambitious mission.
Information from The Office of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.