Thursday, January 3, 2013

Asteroid herding?

NASA has the goal of trying to land astronauts on an asteroid.

They just got real ambitious. Instead of taking men to an asteroid, they're considering bringing the asteroid to the men. Putting one in orbit around the Earth is risky, so they're going to put it in orbit around the moon (because really, what's one more crater on a dead rockball if things go wrong).

This is actually very important. An asteroid catcher, if we could perfect one, could allow the diversion of an asteroid that IS on course for hitting the Earth. It could also allow for mining of asteroids for resources, most especially gold and platinum (the latter has a number of industrial uses and is extremely rare on Earth - we're running out).

So. I'm hoping this one works. Just flying to an asteroid is a little gimmicky. Steering one...now that's big.