Target: Asteroid

Is NASA seriously considering a human mission to an asteroid? That would be cool.

“A human mission to a near Earth asteroid would be scientifically worthwhile,” said Chris McKay, deputy scientist in the Constellation science office at the NASA Johnson Space Center. “It could be part of an overall program of understanding these objects. Also, it would be useful, instrumentally, in terms of understanding the threat they pose to the Earth.”

“There’s a lot of public resonance with this notion that NASA ought to be doing something about killer asteroids…to be able to send serious equipment to an asteroid,” McKay observed. “The public wants us to have mastered the problem of dealing with asteroids. So being able to have astronauts go out there and sort of poke one with a stick would be scientifically valuable as well as demonstrate human capabilities,” he said.

 

itokawa.jpgAccording to this SPACE.com article, a mission to a near-Earth asteroid might happen before NASA goes to Mars, possibly even before the next lunar landing, to test the new spacecraft systems for a longer 60-90 day mission.

Asteroid Itokawa is pictured on the left here, as imaged recently by a Japanese probe.

About these ads

About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Astronomy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Target: Asteroid

  1. crystal says:

    Cool indeed! :-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s