Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close

PHOENIX -- Instead of aiming for the moon, NASA's looking for an asteroid.

If lawmakers approve a proposed mission, an unmanned spacecraft will capture a small asteroid and put in in the moon's orbit so future astronauts can visit and study it in the future.

"You have to find the asteroid, then you're going to send a probe to it, you're going to grab it, you're going to capture it and then you're gonna tow it back home," Mike George from the Arizona Science Center Planetarium explained Monday.

The project is estimated to cost $2.6 billion dollars. If all goes as planned, astronauts could be visiting the asteroid as early as 2021.

George said the research that can come from the mission makes it worthwhile.

"If we can bring back an asteroid and we can study it, we can find out more about asteroids and maybe how we can deflect those if we know about them well in advance," hr said.

George said the asteroid will stay in place where it is put and will not pose a danger to Earth. The ideal rock is described by NASA as 20 to 30 feet in diameter and weighing 500 tons. It would be captured in a cup-shaped container described as an "inflatable asteroid capture bag."

The White House will include $105 million to begin work on the project in the 2014 budget.

share this story:
Attention Comment Users: We have recently changed our comments boards.
We would like you to be part of the conversation and The Voice of Arizona by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing KTAR (Arizona Sports) account members will need to create a Disqus account or use one of the aforementioned social media logins. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus

World Class Arizona

  • Dignity Health

    World Class People. World Class Company. Excellent care, delivered with compassion, for all in need.
  • CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company

    SCF Arizona has a new name. They are now CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company.
  • Taylor Morrison

    World Class People. World Class Company. We are a national home builder committed to building homes inspired by you.
  • Go Daddy

    World Class People. World Class Company. Go Daddy is a Fortune 100 "Best Companies to Work For."
  • Avnet

    World Class People. World Class Company. Here's information on a Fortune 500 company from Arizona.

Voice For A Better Arizona

  • Working For Arizona

    The business and economics of Arizona at the start of 2014 and looking forward.
  • Arizonans In Need

    Putting a focus on charities and organizations who provide help and/or need your help to fulfill their missions.