President Obama recently announced that he wants NASA to capture an asteroid, launch it into the moon/earth orbit, and then used by astronauts as a stepping stone for an eventual mission to Mars. By 2021 astronauts would use an Orion capsule to land on the asteroid and bring back soil and rock samples for analysis. In the 2030s, it’ll be used as a stop-off point for astronauts on their way to Mars. Continue reading for a video and more information.
‘This mission allows us to better develop our technology and systems to explore farther than we’ve ever been before – to an asteroid and to Mars – places that humanity has dreamed about…but has had no hope of ever attaining. We’re on the threshold of being able to tell my kids and my grandkids that we’re almost there.’ NASA administrator Charles Bolden said. In 2010, Mr Obama proposed that NASA follow the International Space Station programme with a human mission to an asteroid by 2025. The agency has been developing a heavy-lift rocket and deep-space capsule capable of carrying astronauts beyond the station’s 250 mile high orbit.