Nasa goes on asteroid hunt

Last updated 08:24 20/06/2014
nasa asteroid
NASA

SNAPPED: This image of asteroid 2011 MD was taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope over a period of 20 hours. The long observation, taken in infrared light, was needed to pick up the faint signature of the small asteroid (centre of frame).

Relevant offers

Nasa is zeroing in on the asteroids it wants to capture, haul near the moon and have astronauts visit.

Officials have described a prime candidate: A tiny asteroid that whizzed about 12,250 kilometres above Earth in 2011. The 6 metre-long asteroid might be small enough to fit in a garage.

That asteroid also could be a pile of smaller rocks that fly together in formation.

The plan is to grab an asteroid with a giant claw or capture it with a giant inflatable bag. The asteroid would be parked above the moon, with astronauts exploring in a later mission.

NASA executive Lindley Johnson said there will eventually be about 10 possible rocks for capture in the early 2020s.

They have found at least six valid candidates so far.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers
Opinion poll

What will be the main motivation for humanity's future space endeavours?

Quest for alien life

Making money

Human spirit of exploration

To escape an ailing Earth

China vs the rest space race

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Blog
In Our Nature blog

In Our Nature, with Nicola Toki

The cost of losing nature