NASA offers $6 million to assist in its asteroid capture mission

NASA is continuing to work on one of its most ambitious projects to date, and it is now offering money to companies, universities, and organizations to help find answers to the biggest technical hurdles that lie ahead. The mission itself sounds like it’s ripped from the pages of a science-fiction novel. It calls for an unmanned vehicle to capture a small asteroid and tow it into the Moon’s orbit, where it will be used for landing and training exercises by astronauts. 

NASA is asking for more ideas to help plan out its ambitious asteroid-capture mission, which seeks to drag a space rock into orbit around the moon for future visitation by astronauts. The agency announced today (March 21) that it’s seeking proposals for advanced technology-development studies that could bring the asteroid-redirect mission closer to reality and help keep the effort’s costs down. “We’re in this sort of pre-formulation phase, studying and gathering input, leading to a mission concept review that we’ll have in early 2015, where we’ll try and focus down to a specific concept, and then go develop and implement,” Greg Williams, deputy associate administrator for policy and plans in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, told reporters today.

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