The U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee received expert evidence as they discussed which destination man should make its first port of call on its way to the planets. Currently NASA and the Obama Administration is promoting a plan to capture a small asteriod which would be brought back to the Earth/Moon system using an unmanned spacecraft. Once there a manned mission would be sent to it to take samples. NASA has allocated $105 million to examine the technologies needed. But detractors of this idea say that the Moon would be a much better interim choice for manned exploration.
Tag Archives | asteroid
ANALYSIS: NASA Manned lunar return is probably a better choice than asteroid capture say space experts – and they are probably right
US President Barack Obama has formally made his Fiscal Year 2014 budget request for NASA. At $17.7 billion investment the budget is largely unchanged in cash terms from 2012 levels and is $1 billion higher than the 2013 budget, but taking inflation into account, it still still represents a decline. The plan, which assumes that the sequestration limits will no longer be in effect, commits to continuing with the the Orion space capsule and its SLS heavy lift booster rocket programmes, and contributing towards the final development of the James Webb Space Telescope, leading to its planned launch in 2018.
A film sequence of radar images of asteroid 2012 DA14 during its close pass of Earth on 15 February has been released by NASA. The imagers were obtained using the 70m diameter Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California as the 4m long asteroid moved away from the Earth. Each of the 72 frames required 320 seconds of data collection by the Goldstone radar. The images have been looped nine times for the video and clearly show the object was rotating. The resolution is only 4m per pixel.
A Near Earth Object (NEO) asteroid 2012 DA14 is due to make a very close pass of Earth on 15 February as it flies well within the Geostationary Orbital altitude of 36,000km at circa 1800-2200 GMT. Observers in Europe wanting to view the object should see it moving across Ursa Major (aka Great Bear, Big Dipper, Plough) constellation from 2100 GMT onwards.
In a president George W. Bush-like moment NASA administrator Charles Bolden is reported to have said: “it is the uneasiest thing we could do”. Uneasiest? Don’t you mean it is one of the hardest things you could do?
Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog written by Flight technical editor Rob Coppinger
Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog by Flight’s technical reporter Rob Coppinger
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