NASA project to transfer the asteroid into orbit of the moon: questions and answers
Information on NASA plans for the next couple of decades has already been published on Habré . Among the most interesting points (although the whole plan itself is very interesting) is the flight to the asteroid, its interception and redirection to the orbit of the moon.
This is done to develop technology for capturing an asteroid, and to study this object, and to train astronauts. Of course, the mission is very unusual and it raises a number of questions for both professionals, space industry workers, and ordinary people. The other day a series of questions and answers about this mission was published on the Web. Probably, this information will be very interesting for representatives of the Habrasociety.
How will the mission be carried out?
NASA experts have provided two options for the project. The first is the choice of a small asteroid (7-10 meters in diameter) located near the Earth, sending an automatic station to the asteroid to redirect the object to the orbit of the moon. An alternative plan is to extract a boulder of the same size from a larger asteroid, with the subsequent transportation of this part to the moon.
As soon as the asteroid arrives at the place of constant "deployment", a team of two astronauts will go to the object for further study. In this case, the flight will be carried out on the ship Orion.
How to find a suitable asteroid?
NASA has now identified more than 11,000 asteroids as being close to Earth. Three potential sites for study have already been identified, and now scientists are closely monitoring these three candidates.
How much is it?
Initial estimates of the cost of the mission show figures of 1.25-2.6 billion dollars, and this is without taking into account the development of a new type of spaceship and Orion capsule.
NASA is now working with a reduced budget, and the mission of delivering an asteroid to the orbit of the moon is the best thing that could be done with current tasks (traveling to Mars as the main goal) and budget.
What are the side objectives of the project?
A detailed study of the asteroid suggests the possibility of obtaining information about the origin of this celestial body, as well as about the evolution of the solar system. In addition, it will be possible to work out a scheme for redirecting asteroid / asteroids that can threaten the Earth.
Asteroids are also of interest as an object for obtaining resources, including rare earth metals, ordinary metals and ice, which can be converted into liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The latter elements can be used as fuel for rockets, which will reduce the cost of the project to send a man to Mars.
Why the moon?
The authors of the project believe that the moon should be used as a launching pad for sending missions to various points of the solar system.
Also, the "return" to the moon opens up opportunities for the development of various technologies, and the extraction of useful minerals. Of course, such projects cannot be cheap, so different countries will have to join forces.
What is to be done in the near future?
Currently, scientists have a difficult task - from the three potentially suitable asteroids for the project to choose the one, the one and only. In addition, in December this year in the United States will conduct a test launch of a heavy rocket with Orion capsule.