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Progress is being made on defining a human mission to an asteroid.
Experts at several NASA centers are sketching out a prospective
piloted stopover at an asteroid—a trek that could return samples
from a targeted space rock as well as honing astronaut proficiency
and test needed equipment for other space destinations.
At the heart of such a mission is drawing upon the technology of
NASA’s Constellation initiative—the overarching program that is
gearing up to extend human presence at the Moon, on Mars and
If lawmakers give the green light to a next generation Near Earth
Object (NEO) search program, there could be 40 times the current
discovery rate of these celestial bodies.
By the time a human mission to an asteroid is ready, there’s likely
to be a healthy list of suitable targets.