Often, we hear of wild animals being studied in captivity in order to understand more about them. Rarely however, do we hear of astronomers “capturing” asteroids for similar reasons. And yet, that is precisely what NASA aims to do in their latest project to protect earth from these hurtling rocks.
“We are developing a first-ever mission to identify, capture and relocate an asteroid,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. “This mission represents an unprecedented technological feat that will lead to new scientific discoveries and technological capabilities and help protect our home planet.”
The proposal to capture the asteroid involves taking one about nine meters wide out of the asteroid belt (which orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter), then placing it in orbit around the moon, where astronauts can break pieces off to study.
For more on NASA’s projects, click here to read about asteroid mining, and how it could replenish earth’s resources.