Feeds

NASA: Full details on our manned ASTEROID SNATCH mission

If Congress will fund it, that is

Top three mobile application threats

Video NASA is pressing ahead with plans to capture an asteroid, pack it in an orbit around the Moon, and then send up a two-person crew to investigate and take samples, and it has released a video showing how it plans to achieve all this.

Orion asteroid capture mission

The two craft involved in capturing a shard of the Solar System

Over the last few months, NASA has been taking submissions for ideas on how to accomplish its goal of bringing an asteroid close to Earth for study – although not too close. Now it has released the plans for how it will go about bringing the shards of the Solar System in for inspection.

The space agency is planning a two-vehicle mission. The first launch will be an unmanned asteroid catcher, which will nuzzle up to a small asteroid and encase it in a "capture bag." Two solar-powered ion thrusters using xenon fuel will then maneuver the asteroid into a parking orbit around the Moon.

In the second stage of the mission, two astronauts in an Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle will be launched on the as-yet unbuilt Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket to rendezvous with the space rock. The astronauts will head in towards the Moon and get a gravity assist from the planetoid, enabling them to reach the captured asteroid within nine days.

Once there, the astronauts will exit the Orion capsule and crawl up the outside of the capture craft and onto the asteroid bag, which will be rigged with handholds. After filming the rock's form, drilling into its core, and taking samples for six days, the crew will reboard the Orion for the ten-day trip home, again using a lunar flyby to gain speed without using fuel.

NASA has released a bunch of pretty pictures and a video showing how it will all be done, but it's going to take cold, hard, cash – and a lot of it – to make this mission a reality. Sadly Congress shows little willingness to pony up for it, with the House of Representatives threatening to kill funding for the mission.

That's not to say all is lost. If Elon Musk's predictions about the future Falcon Heavy rocket that SpaceX is developing prove correct, it has the potential to be much cheaper than NASA's SLS design. That could free up some capital, and the mission could possibly use Musk's Dragon capsule, as well. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.