Researchers at NASA's future plan to capture an asteroid weighing 500 tons, put it in lunar orbit and to build a space station, which will serve as a staging post on the route Earth — Mars.
The project will be considered by the department of science and technology policy of the United States (White House office of science and technology policy) in the near future.
According to preliminary estimates it only at the initial stage (the first 10 years) will cost the state $ 2.6 billion. The corresponding feasibility study has been prepared by specialists NASA and the California Institute of Technology.
If researchers can implement this project, this will be the first in the history of the space object moving from one orbit to another.
A special "capsule to capture" the asteroid will be injected into space by an Atlas 5 rocket. It will send an asteroid in space between the Earth and the Moon. To do this (when the object comes within a sufficient distance) capsule will release a kind of "bag", which is the diameter of the asteroid 50 times. This "traptorial network" would literally wrapped around the object.
Next, the device will launch a powerful engine and stop the asteroid, and then move it to the gravity-neutral spot. You can then plan the construction of a base to start other vehicles in the depths of the universe.
Scientists note that the proposed space object capture technology can be used to mine metals and minerals for use in the construction of the station on an asteroid. For example, some of these objects contain much iron and other carry water which can be let to create fuel.
Recall the recent Professor, Russian State Hydrometeorological University Valery Malinin said that the Earth is approaching asteroid collision which would be tantamount to an explosion of thousands of atomic bombs.
Note that Roskosmos plans after 2020 to implement a project to launch a potentially Earth-threatening asteroid Apophis spacecraft.