NASA has released some new photos and video animations outlining the concept of how their planned asteroid capture mission will work. The plan is to find, capture, redirect a near-Earth asteroid to a stable point near the Moon in order to explore and study it. It’s still unclear if NASA will receive Congressional funding or authorization to do an asteroid retrieval mission, but the agency is moving ahead with its planning work for now.
NASA recently did a mission formulation review to look at some internal studies on the mission, as well as taking a look at over 400 ideas the space community submitted concerning the mission.
The new images show crew operations including the Orion spacecraft’s trip to and rendezvous with the relocated asteroid, as well as astronauts maneuvering through a spacewalk to collect samples from the asteroid.
Image 1: Orion spacecraft leaving Earth orbit.
Image 2: The spacecraft will use the moons gravity to reach the asteroid. Orion and its two-person crew travels an estimated nine days.
Image 3: NASA’s Orion spacecraft approaching the robotic asteroid capture vehicle. Credit: NASA
Image 4: The two-person crew uses a translation boom to travel from the Orion spacecraft to the captured asteroid during a spacewalk.
Concept Animation -Credit: NASA.