Asteroid Return Mission!
November 26, 2012
As proposed at the Keck Institute for Space Studies (http://kiss.caltech.edu/study/asteroid/index.html), I would like to see a robotic mission to a small Near Earth Asteroid (NEA): the spacecraft would capture the small NEA and move it to a High Lunar Orbit (HLO) or to a Lagrangian point. This can be done by 2025. Once the small NEA is a few days from Earth, we can send astronauts there with a simple upgrade of an already available system such as Falcon9+Dragon or similar. And this plan is flexible and does not require an increase in the budget. I think it is cool and the way to go! Moreover, while moving precisely the small asteroid, we test also the technology to divert a potentially hazardous NEA.
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.