When it comes to government funding, NASA’s had a rougher time of it than most under the Obama regime.
So when the President says he’s actually happy to pay for a US manned asteroid mission as he did in this year’s budget, you can bet it’s all hands on deck at the iconic space agency.
Because asteroid mining is a real thing, and if it can be done, it will pay its backers back handsomely.
One estimate of a space rock that buzzed the Earth back in February put it’s value at $US195 billion, including $130 billion in metals alone.
But how do you capture an asteroid? NASA’s glad you asked.
Like this, according to a set of images it released last week:
NASA's robotic asteroid capture vehicle deploys solar panels
This inflatable cylinder engulfs and collapses over the asteroid
The asteroid is 'despun' and redirected into an orbit around the moon
Astronauts dock into the capture module and board it through a translation boom
Hundreds of metal rings around the capture balloon give miners something to hang onto
Also in train is a plan outlining how NASA will redirect any asteroids that are too big to swing into orbit around the moon and which may actually smash us all into extinction.
Team Willis on standby in 3, 2, 1…
All images courtesy NASA/Advanced Concepts Laboratory
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