NASA envisages first-ever human mission to an asteroid

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Charles Bolden, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) [UNIS Vienna photo]

The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is planning to send a first-ever mission to capture and re-direct an asteroid.

The initiative was announced on Tuesday by NASA's Charles Bolden at a meeting the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in Vienna.

He said the idea is to capture an asteroid that is approximately seven to ten metres in diameter and weighing about 500 metric tonnes.

"The centerpiece of our asteroid initiative is the first-ever attempt to identify, capture and redirect an asteroid. We plan to use high power solar-electric propulsion system to rendezvous with, capture and re-direct a small asteroid into a stable orbit in the lunar vicinity. From there our astronauts will be able to visit and return samples, using the Alliance spacecraft, the ISA-TV service module and our heavy lift rocket." (25")

Mr. Bolden said the mission will advance the understanding of the nature of the asteroid and how we might protect the planet from them.

He added that apart from that the initiative will provide valuable experience in future mission planning and operations.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’03″

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