Senator says NASA to lasso asteroid, bring it closer (Update)

Apr 05, 2013 by Seth Borenstein

NASA is planning for a robotic spaceship to lasso a small asteroid and park it near the moon for astronauts to explore, a top U.S. senator disclosed Friday.

The robotic ship would capture the 500-ton 25-foot (450 metric ton, 7.6 meters) asteroid in 2019. Then using an Orion space capsule, now being developed, a crew of about four astronauts would nuzzle up next to the rock in 2021 for spacewalking exploration, according to a government document obtained by The Associated Press.

Sen. Bill Nelson said the plan would speed up by four years the existing mission to land astronauts on an asteroid by bringing the space rock closer to Earth.

Nelson, a Democrat who is chairman of the Senate science and space subcommittee, said Friday that President Barack Obama is putting $100 million in planning money for the accelerated asteroid mission in the 2014 budget that comes out next week. The money would be used to find the right small asteroid.

"It really is a clever concept," Nelson said in a news conference in Florida the state where NASA launches take place. "Go find your ideal candidate for an asteroid. Go get it robotically and bring it back."

In this Jan. 13, 2013 file photo, the Orion Exploration Flight Test 1crew module is seen in the Operations and Checkout building during a media tour at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Senate Science and Space subcommittee Chairman Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. says President Barack Obama and NASA are planning for a robotic spaceship to lasso a small asteroid and park it near the moon. Then astronauts would explore it in 2021. Nelson said the plan would speed up by four years an existing mission to land astronauts on an asteroid by bringing the space rock closer to Earth. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

While there are thousands of asteroids that size out there, finding the right one that comes by Earth at just the right time to be captured will not be easy, said Donald Yeomans, who heads NASA's Near Earth Object program that monitors close-by asteroids. He said once a suitable rock is found it would be captured with the space equivalent of "a baggie with a drawstring. You bag it. You attach the solar propulsion module to de-spin it and bring it back to where you want it."

Yeomans said a 25-foot asteroid is no threat to Earth because it would burn up should it inadvertently enter Earth's atmosphere. The mission as Nelson described is perfectly safe, he said.

Nelson said this would help NASA develop the capability to nudge away a dangerous asteroid if one headed to Earth in the future. It also would be training for a future mission to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s, he said.

The government document said the mission, with no price tag at the moment, would inspire because it "will send humans farther than they have ever been before."

Explore further: Lunar explorers will walk at higher speeds than thought

4.6 /5 (22 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA plans 2014 test-flight of deep-space capsule

Nov 08, 2011

NASA said Tuesday it will launch in 2014 an unmanned test flight of its Orion deep space capsule, made by Lockheed Martin to someday carry astronauts to the moon, an asteroid or Mars.

Obama's asteroid goal: tougher, riskier than moon

Apr 16, 2010

(AP) -- Landing a man on the moon was a towering achievement. Now the president has given NASA an even harder job, one with a certain Hollywood quality: sending astronauts to an asteroid, a giant speeding ...

Funding threatens US return to moon by 2020

Jun 18, 2009

US ambitions of returning to the moon by 2020 and then heading to Mars risk being grounded because of "unrealistic" funds allocated to NASA, said Senator Bill Nelson, a former space shuttle astronaut.

Recommended for you

Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating

26 minutes ago

Miranda, a small, icy moon of Uranus, is one of the most visually striking and enigmatic bodies in the solar system. Despite its relatively small size, Miranda appears to have experienced an episode of intense ...

The latest observations of interstellar particles

6 hours ago

With all the news about Voyager 1 leaving the heliosphere and entering interstellar space you might think that the probe is the first spacecraft to detect interstellar particles. That isn't entirely true, ...

Hepatitis C virus proteins in space

6 hours ago

Two researchers at Technische Universität München have won the 'International Space Station Research Competition' with their project 'Egypt Against Hepatitis C Virus.' As their prize, the scientists will ...

User comments : 58

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

verkle
2 / 5 (28) Apr 05, 2013
What a total waste of money! Park an asteroid near the moon?
The amount that we can nudge an asteroid with current technology is so miniscule. Maybe whoever is thinking up these crazy plans can be sent to an asteroid instead.
ValeriaT
1.5 / 5 (22) Apr 05, 2013
What a total waste of money! Park an asteroid near the moon?
I do agree.. Apparently NASA needs another budget cut urgently..
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (23) Apr 05, 2013
What a total waste of money! Park an asteroid near the moon?
The amount that we can nudge an asteroid with current technology is so miniscule. Maybe whoever is thinking up these crazy plans can be sent to an asteroid instead.
Lets see... someone named verkle who says it's not possible, vs NASA scientists and engineers who are planning to do just that. Who would YOU tend to believe?

We need to know how to move these things about. Impactors are among humanitys greatest threats. The best way to learn, is to start practicing.

We didn't build the ISS to be able to do science in space - we needed to learn HOW to build complex structures of that size in orbit. This knowledge is more important than anything we will probably do there. And moving this little rock will tell us a great deal about how to move even bigger ones, and how to do these sorts of things with robots.

NASA had never been in business to make money. It is a defense agency.
Roy A
1.3 / 5 (16) Apr 05, 2013
Keshe technology is the future. NASA tech is sooo last century
PhotonX
5 / 5 (15) Apr 05, 2013
Keshe technology is the future. NASA tech is sooo last century
Really? How many successful space missions has Keshe Technology completed? Or even attempted? Oh, right, you said "the future". As in "hasn't happened".
.
I'll take it all back after Keshe uses his free energy to move an asteroid. I'm not holding my breath.
Ensa
4.6 / 5 (7) Apr 05, 2013
Glad too see they are sticking with a good plan.
As I commented on This [http://phys.org/n...tml#nRlv] article in 2010 - Getting to the moon is something that with a budget and some commitment can be achieved by a few nations already, soon corporations will be able to do it. Getting to NEO's is technology and capability development that will put whoever can do it ahead. Soon space will be overtly militarized, no matter what the Americans do and there will be conflict over the most cheaply available resources and so-on. The direction Obama and his advisers are taking will put America ahead technologically and militarily, regardless of the actual success of the first manned NEO missions.

He who takes the high ground has the advantage. This plan is more sensible than going to Mars or back to the moon at this time.
PhotonX
5 / 5 (8) Apr 05, 2013
Getting to NEO's is technology and capability development that will put whoever can do it ahead. Soon space will be overtly militarized, no matter what the Americans do and there will be conflict over the most cheaply available resources and so-on.
...
He who takes the high ground has the advantage. This plan is more sensible than going to Mars or back to the moon at this time.
I regret that I agree with you. I wish it weren't so, but current human societies are militaristic, and I don't see that changing in the near future. On the other hand, I'm a bit of a greybeard now, and I feared long ago that space would already be militarized, so perhaps there is hope yet for optimism.
.
I either case, developing and perfecting the technology necessary to move asteroids is something we need to learn, and sooner would be better than later. Ultimately, of course, our very existence may depend on it. I'm always baffled when people can't understand that.
.
Maggnus
4.2 / 5 (10) Apr 05, 2013
On the other hand, I'm a bit of a greybeard now, and I feared long ago that space would already be militarized, so perhaps there is hope yet for optimism.


I figured by now that we'd be able to point to lights from the moon colony! Yet I remain optimistic that I will see another moon landing before I die. Even back and forth to a parked asteroid would be fine.
Lurker2358
2.6 / 5 (13) Apr 05, 2013
Nelson, a Democrat who is chairman of the Senate science and space subcommittee, said Friday that President Barack Obama is putting $100 million in planning money for the accelerated asteroid mission in the 2014 budget that comes out next week.


$100 million for planning. The actual mission will cost 100's of billions by the time everything is settled.

This just in:

The U.S. government is very nearly bankrupt, and at the current rate of deficit spending probably will be bankrupt within 5 or 10 years, that is, if the debt means anything at all. Why? Because in about that time the interest on the debt will be so high that there will be no mathematical way to ever break even again...short of divine intervention anyway.
Shabs42
4.4 / 5 (13) Apr 05, 2013
$100 million for planning. The actual mission will cost 100's of billions by the time everything is settled.

This just in:

The U.S. government is very nearly bankrupt, and at the current rate of deficit spending probably will be bankrupt within 5 or 10 years, that is, if the debt means anything at all.


We spend $700-800 billion on defense each year, NASA's budget is $18.5 billion. I agree spending needs to be reduced drastically, but NASA isn't the place to start.
dan42day
2 / 5 (12) Apr 06, 2013
Hey kids, I know you all want to go to Disneyland this year, but we just can't afford it so I'm going to do the next best thing! I'm going to have your Aunt Clara in Orange County stop by the gift shop at Disneyland and ship a bunch of fun stuff to grandma's house. Then we can go over to grandma's and get it some weekend next month! It'll be almost as good as going to Disneyland!

This is a waste of money. The main point of the asteroid mission was to give Orion somewhere to go away from earth, but less challenging than mars. Use the money to get the Orion capsule finished on time, god knows some funding shortfall will happen over the next five years to delay it.
PhotonX
5 / 5 (8) Apr 06, 2013
There's nothing saying that the next folk who land on the Moon won't be speaking Chinese, but it's going to happen whether the U.S. does it or not. We are going to need a manned presence in space to eventually establish a viable off-world colony, which is a prerequisite to guarantee the long-term survival of our species, which I hope is the goal of us all.
.
Meanwhile, developing the ability to modify asteroid orbits is another leg of insuring our survival, to give us the tools to keep a random fricking rock from ending the existence of humankind. How can that possibly be considered a waste of money?
Silverhill
5 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2013
@verkle
The amount that we can nudge an asteroid with current technology is so miniscule. [sic]
You mean: the amount that we can nudge a asteroid *with any given impulse* is minuscule. Use lots of small impulses (or one small but steady push), get a big total result. See: ion engine; nuclear steam rocket; gravity tractor; etc. All of these are things that we already know how to build.
Neinsense99
1 / 5 (6) Apr 06, 2013
"There's nothing saying that the next folk who land on the Moon won't be speaking Chinese" It's entirely possible that they could be speaking Chinese and be a US citizen (or from somewhere else, for that matter). Bruce Lee both Chinese and a 'German American', after all, according to family history revealed by his widow.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Apr 06, 2013
The amount that we can nudge an asteroid with current technology is so miniscule.

Maybe you should read the artocle before commenting. They're talking about a very tiny asteroid (7.6 meter diameter). If it onleneeds to be nudged to swing closer to earth then that is well within our capabilities.

He who takes the high ground has the advantage.

Which is pretty pointless in space where taking the high ground takes a looooong time. If it takes you years to get a rock into position then that's not much of a strategic (much less a tactical) avantage. Taking the high ground only means anything if you can deny someone else that high ground. And if it takes you years/decades to set that up then you're not going to deny anyone anything (especially since there is so much high gound that you can't fill it up/cover it to deny it to others, too).
Pkunk_
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 06, 2013
Something thats only 25 feet in width can be easily "captured" using something as simple as a polymer or carbon fiber net .
And yeah it "weighs" ~500 tons but in zero g , something that heavy isn't impossible to move around with even a small but consistent thrust .
A very doable mission and getting hold of some pristine space rock is what most scientists dream about.
alfie_null
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 06, 2013
What a total waste of money! Park an asteroid near the moon?
The amount that we can nudge an asteroid with current technology is so miniscule. Maybe whoever is thinking up these crazy plans can be sent to an asteroid instead.

So, I'm having fun imagining how things would be today if the likes of verkle had oversight on, say, the Manhattan Project?
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (8) Apr 06, 2013
We spend $700-800 billion on defense each year, NASA's budget is $18.5 billion. I agree spending needs to be reduced drastically, but NASA isn't the place to start.
The money aren't problem, but the effectiveness of their spending. I'm sure, NASA could propose scientifically more valuable projects, than the catching of asteroids. Such a projects have no practical meaning, until we cannot research more effective source of energy like the cold fusion. With chemical energy source we cannot deflect any significant asteroid anyway. I.e. the whole thing is about prioritization of research.
Egleton
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2013
The USA? Is that entity still around?
The size of an empire is dependant on it's speed of communication. The World Government is relentlessly emerging despite reactionary whining. esp from some loose confederacy of bankrupt States.
L4 and 5 have the capacity to hold many orders of magnitude more people than the surface of this orb.
Not only is this doable. It is mandatory. Negativity is Lethal.
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (10) Apr 06, 2013
Such a projects have no practical meaning

Onthe (very) contrary. If we're ever to go into asteroid mining then getting a hold of a largish clump of asteroid for testing purposes is crucial.

Much better than spending hundreds of billions on setting up the first real mining mission and then finding out that when they got there they can't do anything because they totally misjudged the characteristics of asteroid rock.

we cannot research more effective source of energy like the cold fusion.

Just shut up with your OT idiocies. This article isn't even remotely about energy so take your pet theories and stick them where they belong.
philw1776
2.3 / 5 (8) Apr 06, 2013
I'm a major supporter of space science and human participation but this is NASA trying to find a mission for its boondoggle SLS and Orion. Sadly NASA is a congressional district jobs program, jobs for re-election votes.

I agree with those here who say we need to study NEOs, their detailed compositions and yes how to move them. This could readily be done with a unmanned program of sample return and tests of various deflection technologies. There is no need to require the expensive SLS and Orion programs. Commercial space is far ahead developing more cost effective alternatives. Spend NASA $ on space science and funding missions as I described. DARPA has run some very effective prize competitions that seriously advanced the state of the art. The two best concepts of the planning phase contest could then be contracted by NASA for the actual missions. The old 20th century NASA model of mega funding and mega missions is extinct.
Mayday
2.5 / 5 (8) Apr 06, 2013
It is an interesting strategy to place a series of smallish captured asteroids in orbit around the moon, and then collide them with a threatening incoming asteroid or comet to shatter it or deflect its course. This may be the most viable short-term Earth impactor solution that I have heard. We should probably send several capture missions out at the same time. And soon. I support the idea. I do regret that it will come at the cost of delaying further lunar and Mars missions. But we may save our own skins.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (6) Apr 06, 2013
This article isn't even remotely about energy
Of course it it - like any other cosmic technology. With cold fusion source we could vaporize whatever asteroid and deflect it like the comet with reactive force, for example. With cold fusion most of contemporary research would become obsolete immediately.
and then collide them with a threatening incoming asteroid or comet to shatter
I'm sure, the first significant comet would come just from the opposite direction, than this "strategy" expects...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (8) Apr 06, 2013
I'm a major supporter of space science and human participation but this is NASA trying to find a mission for its boondoggle SLS and Orion. Sadly NASA is a congressional district jobs program, jobs for re-election votes.
These were NOT boondoggles. They were a common military backup strategy, in case private industry was unable to fill the gap left by the shuttle.

The F20 tigershark was an austere fighter developed in concert with the F16, up to the point of production, just in case there was some fatal flaw in F16 design. Certainly this was expensive. This plane was however critical to militaries around the world. So is off-world transport.

NASA is, and always was, a military agency.
Lurker2358
2.7 / 5 (7) Apr 06, 2013
Such a projects have no practical meaning


If the government made money off space-flight, it would be another matter, but they don't.

Congress recently ordered FEMA to make the flood insurance program self-sustaining. They should do the same for NASA. Like "Figure out how to do something in space that will at least pay for half your budget".

What NASA is planning on doing is another "There and back again, and forget it happened" manned mission, much like the Lunar missions.

A manned flight to an asteroid is pointless until you have the robotics and refining tools to actually do something practical there.

For the cost of one manned mission, they could send out tens of robotic lander-probes, land on these 25 to 100ft size asteroids, and drill into them somehow and study what they aer made of. With a bit of ingenuity, they could even make the lander return sample payloads back to orbit where they could be captured, and landed in a pristine cargo capsule container for study.
Lurker2358
2.5 / 5 (8) Apr 06, 2013
We will need 3-D printing technology to advance to it's limits, and we'll need almost Borg-like nanotechnology for processing metals and assembling structural and mechanical components.

Why? Because it's almost inconceivable to imagine the cost of building and launching the components to a space-worthy FOUNDRY into a space from Earth.

On Earth when we make many types of components from metals, the mold is broken, and must be replaced after every single component. This would be almost impossible to accomplish in space with a first generation space foundry.

So you have to make metal working technology which:

1, will work.
2, is self sustaining.
3, is incredibly reliable
4, can radiate heat waste without air cooling or water cooling.
5, processes enough material to pay for itself in real costs before breaking...

Laser drills are an idea, but they aren't as easy as they look. Keep vaporizing rock and metal, and you'll get corrosion and accumulation of slag on your gear...
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2013
With cold fusion source we could vaporize whatever asteroid and deflect it like the comet with reactive force, for example.

Which is - given the cold fusion myth - about as effective as covering your eyes and thinking that the asteroid will then just blink out of existence.

Sorry, but the people who actually want to survive (and who want humanity to survive) aren't going to bet on non-existent technologies. When you get your cold fusion generator working and fly to one of them asteroids to live there you are free to use it for your protection.

With cold fusion most of contemporary research would become obsolete immediately.

As would be the case if we discovered magic (or gods)...and for the very same reason.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 06, 2013
@ensa
As I commented on This... He who takes the high ground has the advantage. This plan is more sensible than going to Mars or back to the moon at this time.
-As you know, I said this the day before in another thread, and repeated it in the one you referenced...
how droll. Skepticus is right and militarily, Obama wants to take the high ground ie the asteroid belt. Traveling to mars is good practice for gravity-boost missions farther out and above the planetary plane, if nothing else. A well-aimed rogue would erase a hostile moon base...
http://phys.org/n...316.html
And you've just copied it. You that hard up for accolades? How sad. Did I myself get it from somewhere else? No.

But thanks for repeating it as it reinforces the understanding that NASA is indeed a military agency.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 06, 2013
Laser drills are an idea, but they aren't as easy as they look. Keep vaporizing rock and metal, and you'll get corrosion and accumulation of slag on your gear...
...which is why engineers are trained to consider these conditions and design machines which can accommodate them.
http://www.weck.c...csA3.pdf
Which is - given the cold fusion myth - about as effective as covering your eyes and thinking that the asteroid will then just blink out of existence
Well, according to NASA, LENR has 'blown up labs and melted windows'. Do you think they were lying to you AA?
Lurker2358
2 / 5 (4) Apr 06, 2013
which is why engineers are trained to consider these conditions and design machines which can accommodate them.


I read that. Thanks.

They lost me on deriving the formula in section 3, but I understood the rest of it very well.

However, this was almost perfectly pure elemental metal, with a perfectly smooth surface, in this case copper. An asteroid won't be like that, and each one will have different composition. A laser tool will therefore need many variable settings and the user would need to search for the most efficient by experiment for each rock...

Well, according to NASA, LENR has 'blown up labs and melted windows'. Do you think they were lying to you AA?


Exactly.

This will be cracked eventually.

It may not be some magic pill...

...but I'm sure NASA, the Navy, power companies, and maybe corporate shipping and train companies will come up with practical uses for it eventually.
Skepticus
2.4 / 5 (5) Apr 06, 2013
All we have been able to do so far in space were assembling parts and using tools-all shipped up from Earth. Not so much as a screw was ever made in space. No experiment or prototype manufacturing machines that are designed to work in space exist or planned. No space-rated, general purpose, adaptable, high power plants to run them (solar, nuclear, whatever) exists. That is even before we consider using raw asteroid or lunar materials as feed stocks. All these issues must be addressed to a certain degree for the rendezvousing/manipulating/extracting/manufacturing from a captured asteroid to be productive. Otherwise, all we will have is the ridiculous sight of astronauts crowded on a 25ft space rock, trying to dig thimble-sized samples with custom-made-from-Earth-tools all over again.
For real exploitation of space materials to start, i think we need a bigger base to start experimenting. All ready planned for Luna orbit, may as well bring the asteroid down to the Moon and work there!
Lurker2358
1.6 / 5 (5) Apr 06, 2013
For real exploitation of space materials to start, i think we need a bigger base to start experimenting. All ready planned for Luna orbit, may as well bring the asteroid down to the Moon and work there!


While that's conceivable better than constantly launching from EArth it is not ideal.

It does solve the "how to make molding work in space" problem, due to some gravity from the Moon. However, the gravity is much lower than Earth, but still a problem. The more you must land and launch from a large gravity well, the more the expenses add up. This is why you want to eventually get a zero-G facility up and running.

One hilarious fact is that we characterize the Moon's geology based on 6 sets of samples from lander missions, whereas what we know about the Earth comes from thousands of seismology experiments and actual deep drilling, caves, and tunnel mining of resources.

The Moon would be expected to have all of these features, we just haven't discovered them yet.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (1) Apr 06, 2013
but the people who actually want to survive (and who want humanity to survive) aren't going to bet on non-existent technologies
These technologies do exist for twenty years already and we are survive one million of years already without lassing of asteroids. You're completely separated from reality: just the research of cold fusion would enable us to defeat the real threat - not some silly demo with small boulder.
However, the gravity is much lower than Earth, but still a problem.
Only for primitive chemical engines based on burning of kerosene.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (2) Apr 06, 2013

It does solve the "how to make molding work in space" problem, due to some gravity from the Moon.

I believe molding is not an issue. Use injection molding, where the molten metal is pumped into molds at high pressure instead of gravity casting is one method. Or use rotating molds. Centrifugal force works everywhere, from zero to high gravity environments. My reasons for working on the Moon are: 1)You have plenty of real estate to setup and modifying your machines, which may be big and clunky for first generations, and room to grow. 2) Your spare parts, tools and machinery stay without restraints. 3) Some gravity is better for health than none. 3) you have a choice of constructing and using underground shelter/habitat to avoid space radiation. 4) If using nuclear power plants, they can be buried deep using the soil as radiation shield, minimizing costs. 5)To practice mining and working with non-earth materials on large scale.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (1) Apr 06, 2013
You people are so derailed from economical reality... Currently the NASA is not even able to maintain the tiny ISS at the altitude 330 km above Earth. And without fossil fuel replacement the situation will get only worse.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (1) Apr 06, 2013
Cont.
6)Near enough Earth for reasonable support, rescue, supply of parts and tools that can't be make locally yet. 7) Plenty of sunshine for solar power and room for hydroponic food growing, possibility of a self-sustaining outpost. 8)Excellent place for deep-space surveying, far from Earth EM interferences and no weather. May spot a doomsday asteroid or a valuable one easier than telescopes on Earth. 8) Place to invent,experimenting and manufacturing space technologies using alternative methods and non-Earth materials. Lower launching costs, a minimal underground population (for a long time) to worry about when things go boom.
And perhaps lastly, we are there first! Being second is the first looser..
Lurker2358
5 / 5 (1) Apr 06, 2013
You people are so derailed from economical reality... Currently the NASA is not even able to maintain the tiny ISS at the altitude 330 km above Earth. And without fossil fuel replacement the situation will get only worse.


Moving the majority of the mining and manufacturing into space saves the majority of costs.

You are thinking about this the wrong way. You must think systemically, and you must think long term

Launch of components is currently the biggest hurdle to costs and profitability. If you could make 90% of your components in space, AND ship back payloads of Gold, Platinum, and other rare and valuable metals, you COULD achieve not only profitability, but exponential growth, within certain limits.

This is not science fiction, as real mining companies are beginning to seriously study asteroid mining. We've even had 2 articles on physorg recently about just that topic.

Think about this, NASA is now contracting cargo missions to public sector space corporations...
Accidental TemporalGhost2_0
3 / 5 (2) Apr 06, 2013
I'm a major supporter of space science and human participation but this is NASA trying to find a mission for its boondoggle SLS and Orion. Sadly NASA is a congressional district jobs program, jobs for re-election votes.
These were NOT boondoggles. They were a common military backup strategy, in case private industry was unable to fill the gap left by the shuttle.

The F20 tigershark was an austere fighter developed in concert with the F16, up to the point of production, just in case there was some fatal flaw in F16 design. Certainly this was expensive. This plane was however critical to militaries around the world. So is off-world transport.

NASA is, and always was, a military agency.


The National Reconnoissance Office is the actual military space agency, (love to know what they got,at least NASA shares!)Obama is on par w/Kennedy by promoting and funding private space companies. (some socialist…)The REAL space age begins when its no more news then a trans-pacific FLT
TheKnowItAll
1 / 5 (1) Apr 06, 2013
I for one think this is a great idea. Much better than thinking you can paint an asteroid that's spinning in all directions and hope it will be deflected where you want. We need to capture these asteroids and bring them exactly where we want and that is step #1 for this endeavor.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 06, 2013
However, this was almost perfectly pure elemental metal, with a perfectly smooth surface, in this case copper. An asteroid won't be like that, and each one will have different composition. A laser tool will therefore need many variable settings and the user would need to search for the most efficient by experiment for each rock...
...which is WHY engineers are TRAINED to consider these conditions and DESIGN machines which can accommodate them. You read my link but didn't get the message. What occurs to you lurker has already occurred to professionals. You need to research your ideas before you deposit them here.
The National Reconnoissance Office is the actual military space agency
Mercury program was designed around ICBMs. Early Soviet capsules were equipped with anti-Gemini capsule guns. The shuttle was designed to lift spysats and be launched from hardened facilities at vandenburg.

NASA is entirely military in nature. Much of it is recce and weapons devt.
ValeriaT
3 / 5 (4) Apr 06, 2013
NASA is entirely military in nature. Much of it is recce and weapons devt
I wouldn't be surprised, if this project will be actually motivated with development of robot, cleaning/relocating the unwanted satellites from orbit. The lassing of asteroids can be just an evasion.
Waperboy
1 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2013
This sounds like an April-fool's joke. There's no "solar" anything that will affect an asteroid's trajectory, other than possibly crashing into it with very high speed.

To "move" an asteroid, you have to throw matter in the opposite direction - a rocket in other words. I hope this is what they mean when they say solar propulsion, otherwise it sounds a bit crackpot.
Ensa
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2013
@ensa
As I commented on This...
-As you know, I said this the day before in another thread, and repeated it in the one you referenced...
how droll. Skepticus is right and militarily, Obama wants to take the high ground ie the asteroid belt. Traveling to mars is good practice for gravity-boost missions farther out and above the planetary plane, if nothing else. A well-aimed rogue would erase a hostile moon base...
http://phys.org/n...316.html
And you've just copied it. You that hard up for accolades? How sad. Did I myself get it from somewhere else? No.

But thanks for repeating it as it reinforces the understanding that NASA is indeed a military agency.

I didn't intentionally copy you friend. We just both saw the obvious and drew obvious conclusions. As did the administration funding this objective.
The reason we are discussing this is because somebody else thought of it. Our information always comes from somewhere else. We connect it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Apr 07, 2013
The reason we are discussing this is because somebody else thought of it. Our information always comes from somewhere else. We connect it
Really? You have a link? I take great pains to reference what I post here as it helps people to learn, and to understand that I am not misrepresenting myself. If someone out there already came up with this high ground idea I'd like to see it.

I also try to at least skim all comments in a thread to avoid repeating what someone else has already said. This is only being polite and conscientious, and keeps me from looking like an ass.
Newbeak
5 / 5 (1) Apr 07, 2013

This just in:

The U.S. government is very nearly bankrupt, and at the current rate of deficit spending probably will be bankrupt within 5 or 10 years, that is, if the debt means anything at all. Why? Because in about that time the interest on the debt will be so high that there will be no mathematical way to ever break even again...short of divine intervention anyway.

I've read articles that say it is already mathematically impossible to pay off the debt,so why not print another 100 billion for asteroid lassoing missions,and go into default in style? Question: what happens to the world if the U.S. defaults on it's debts? Not a pretty picture,for sure!
Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2013
It would be interesting if the U.S. printed 14 trillion dollars in 20's and 100's and shipped them across the ocean to all the countries and banks we owe.

Having no debt, and therefore no interest on the debt would save us like $600 billion per year worth of new debts...That by itself may be well worth inflating the dollar, since driving up the debt by $6 trillion per decade in interest alone is itself inflating the dollar anyway...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Apr 07, 2013
I've read articles that say it is already mathematically impossible to pay off the debt,so why not print another 100 billion for asteroid lassoing missions,and go into default in style? Question: what happens to the world if the U.S. defaults on it's debts? Not a pretty picture,for sure!
War. War cancels everything. Look how deep in debt Germany was before ww2.

Debt is created in order to initiate war at the Proper Time. There is a direct correlation between economic downturns and wars throughout history. It is no accident that the greatest depression preceded the greatest war.

There can be no resolution to north Korea and Iran besides war. This is why they were created in the first place.
Newbeak
3 / 5 (1) Apr 07, 2013
War cancels everything. Look how deep in debt Germany was before ww2.


Yes,it crossed my mind that if we went to war with NK,the Chinese might be sucked into it,and we would have to nuke both of them,conveniently wiping out our financial obligations to our biggest T-bill holder.Japan is the second biggest holder of U.S.debt,and they would likely get creamed by the Chinese as well.The cost to us: 20-30 million dead from Chinese sub launched ICBMs.Worth it clean the financial slate?
Ensa
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2013
The reason we are discussing this is because somebody else thought of it. Our information always comes from somewhere else. We connect it
Really? You have a link? I take great pains to reference what I post here as it helps people to learn, and to understand that I am not misrepresenting myself. If someone out there already came up with this high ground idea I'd like to see it.

I also try to at least skim all comments in a thread to avoid repeating what someone else has already said. This is only being polite and conscientious, and keeps me from looking like an ass.

My comment was coming, as all my comments on physorg, to add my view and be sociable. Not to claim any original insight.
I cannot find one link to source the ideas I expressed - google gives loads of hits, but just read some politics, military history, hard science fiction, speculative fiction - these fields are peppered with these ideas and are common knowledge in many of them. They are sensible, obvious.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Apr 07, 2013
Ensa said:
As I commented on This [http://phys.org/n...tml#nRlv] article in 2010...My comment was coming, as all my comments on physorg, to add my view and be sociable
When you choose to repeat the views of others, whether from here or outside of physorg, then you ought to acknowledge it. Or at least not claim that it was yours, which you did. Didnt you?

The view you claimed was yours was one I posted in the very same thread you linked, and originally in an adjacent thread a day earlier. Didnt I?
Jo01
1 / 5 (1) Apr 07, 2013
Keshe technology is the future. NASA tech is sooo last century


The answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything is already known (and patented), it's 42.

J.
Ensa
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2013
Ghost said
When you choose to repeat the views of others, whether from here or outside of physorg, then you ought to acknowledge it. Or at least not claim that it was yours, which you did. Didnt you?

The view you claimed was yours was one I posted in the very same thread you linked, and originally in an adjacent thread a day earlier. Didnt I?

I never claimed a view was mine. That would be ludicrous - with something so obvious, it is not even a view - more an observation on the subject of the article. I referred to an earlier post of mine in physorg because it is nice to see this asteroid project still going two years later, dispite objections that I responded to in my comment on the earlier article. I have a feeling I am assisting in polluting this thread by responding to your issues of propriety rather than anything to do with the article, so I will stop. Nice chatting.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2013
Ansa says;
As I commented on This...all my comments on physorg, to add my view
...but then ansa says;
I never claimed a view was mine. That would be ludicrous
Read what you write.
I have a feeling I am assisting in polluting this thread by responding to your issues of propriety
-So next time just apologize and save us both some time. Friend.
Dunbar
not rated yet Apr 07, 2013
A 25 metre asteroid is far smaller than the International Space Station, it is not outside the realm of Newtonian physics, nor, current technology, to guide its course. $100 million is peanuts, really. When Government invests in R&D the money doesn't simply vanish into a black hole it feeds back into the economy, and skills, knowledge and capability are developed, as a result.
Ensa
1 / 5 (1) Apr 07, 2013
Ansa says;
As I commented on This...all my comments on physorg, to add my view
...but then ansa says;
I never claimed a view was mine. That would be ludicrous
Read what you write.
I have a feeling I am assisting in polluting this thread by responding to your issues of propriety
-So next time just apologize and save us both some time. Friend.


Time cannot be saved it can only be spent. Wisely or unwisely I suppose, happily or miserably. Anyway I am not here to save time I am here spend it reading and commenting on articles. As for you - I can neither spend or save your time I am afraid.

However, to my surprise we ended up arguing so that was fun anyway. Seeing as how you have now won...

:)

... All right. Tell you what, I'll apologize in advance for next time.
I'm very sorry.
There ya go.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2013
A 25 metre asteroid is far smaller than the International Space Station, it is not outside the realm of Newtonian physics, nor, current technology, to guide its course.

While I agree that it's feasible you have to be careful with that size comparions. The ISS is mostly flimsy metal shells, some struts and a lot of air inside arranged in a 2D pattern - while an asteroid is 3D solid rock.
The relevant measure of whether we can move something is mass.

This asteroid: 500tons
The ISS (current loadout): about 440tons

The speed differential we need to impart to the asteroid is substantial. It's not going to be easy - but it certainly seems doable.
geokstr
1 / 5 (4) Apr 09, 2013
I'm surprised that they have money in the budget for this meaningless type of thing, unrelated as it is to the primary function of NASA. After all, they have to spend most of it on their number one priority, as communicated directly to NASA chief Bolden by the President himself - to raise the self-esteem of Muslims caused by their 1,300 year record of total non-achievement in the sciences, or any other contributions to civilization for that matter.
Silverhill
not rated yet Apr 12, 2013
@Waperboy:
This sounds like an April-fool's joke. There's no "solar" anything that will affect an asteroid's trajectory, other than possibly crashing into it with very high speed.

To "move" an asteroid, you have to throw matter in the opposite direction - a rocket in other words. I hope this is what they mean when they say solar propulsion, otherwise it sounds a bit crackpot.
To move an asteroid, you have to throw *momentum* in the opposite direction. This does not have to be chemical fuel (see SEP [solar electric propulsion]: http://en.wikiped...thruster ) or even matter (see http://en.wikiped...lar_sail ).