NASA lasso asteroid and by 2021, it will land astronauts


Sen. Clarence William Nelson, Former astronaut ("Columbia"), issued a statement on Friday that NASA is preparing for the 2019 "lasso an asteroid" diameter 7.6 m and deliver it to the lunar orbit. Statement, note is made against the background of a long-known interest NASA to such a project, but until recently no one knew how idea is shared by the United States.

It seems that negotiations do succeed: Mr. Nelson said that the $ 100 million already planned by President Obama to be included in the budget of 2014. The senator is chairman of the Subcommittee on Science and Space, represents a relatively simple affair: "Find the ideal candidate asteroids. And pull it closer to a robotic spacecraft … "


Object size of more than 7.6 m is thus difficult to transport. By the way, the cost of transporting the asteroid to the moon, according to estimates, compared with sending Curiosity. (Here and below illustrate NASA.)

So far (up to 2014), it is only the search for the "right candidate at the asteroids." However, the body diameter of 7.6 m, in general, not an asteroid. Anything smaller than 10 m, usually attributed to the meteoroids, best known to you by the fact that "exploded" recently over Chelyabinsk. No, of course, the definition of a meteoroid is also arguable: for example, the British Royal Astronomical Society said such a body less than 10 m, and the other definitions say about 30 yards, but the object is 7.5 m asteroid can be called only for the sake of … the correct positioning of the project in the U.S. Congress.

It agree, it sounds much more impressive than the root word "weather", and among the public, the term "meteoroid" is an average of no more understanding than the word "sepulka." In general, the ideal goal of NASA's mission is as follows: a body that is less than 10 meters in diameter meteoroid Chelyabinsk, having a mass of 450 tons (total), that is twenty times less "Chelyabinsk / chebarkultsa."

And yet it is a very ambitious project! Already by 2021, according to the senator, the Americans landed on the lunar orbit fitted to the asteroid, and thus achieved the biggest success of manned space flight after landing on the moon. We recall that some time ago, Mr. Obama has rejected plans to re-mission to the moon, it is reasonable noting that the Stars and Stripes is already there, but just does not make sense to repeat the mission. Defeating the concept of a lunar base, NASA hard to admit that it needs more money than in the short term, the agency will be.

By the time something like that pulled up to the Earth system — the Moon, NASA will be ready and the new launch vehicle (SLS), and a new manned spacecraft (Orion).


In this sense, the mission to an asteroid looks like candy: pull up a 7.5-meter object to the moon less than persecute him a manned spacecraft into orbit shift as a small meteoroid quite simply. According to Donald Yeomans (Donald Yeomans), Who heads NASA's Near-Earth Object program, first of all, such an asteroid (for some reason he also uses the term) is not likely to cause significant damage to the Earth (and the truth is to "Chelyabinsk" it is too far away), because even if something and goes wrong, it just burn up in the upper atmosphere.

Second, after finding just need to slow down the rotation of the body and bring it closer to the earth — that is, to "bind" to him the unit with a solar panel and an ion engine, which gradually slow the rotation, and then the body will forward to the lunar orbit. Even in the case of withdrawal of Democrats from power to their successors are unlikely to freeze the program: in its PR-impact project is so beneficial to any U.S. president, that is the default scenario of the country rejection of the "flight to an asteroid" is difficult to imagine.

Of course, in this mission, NASA will need luck: to find the body of the right size in a short time is not easy. Although given the large number of small bodies in the vicinity of the Earth, this is possible. And then the Americans will win a major victory in the historic race manned space flight — the first since 1968.

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