Infographic of the Day: How Sending Humans to an Asteroid Would Work

November 8th, 2014
in News, econ_news, syndication

NASA’s current asteroid-redirect mission plan calls for a robotic probe to capture a small asteroid (or one boulder from a large space rock) in deep space and tow it back to lunar orbit, where it would be visited eventually by astronauts.

Follow up:

But another proposal advocated in an October 2014 editorial in the journal Nature would fly a crew directly to a near-Earth asteroid, or NEA, in its native orbit.

If the ultimate goal is a mission to Mars, a NEA in its native orbit provides more experience in operating long-duration missions in deep space, says the editorial's author, MIT professor Richard Binzel. NASA’s proposed asteroid redirect mission would not take crews much farther than they’ve already been: the moon.

A manned flight to a NEA would take weeks or months, as opposed to NASA's redirect plan, which would only involve astronauts flying in space for days.

The first step toward visiting a NEA should be undertaking a comprehensive search for close-flying space rocks, Binzel says. Such a survey would find thousands of potential astronaut destinations that could serve as "stepping stones" to Mars, and would also identify many space rocks that could pose a threat to Earth down the road.

(click here for larger image)

Diagrams show the plausibility of sending humans to an asteroid
Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration.

 

 















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