NASA released Aug. 22 new photos and video animations depicting the agency’s planned mission to find, capture, redirect, and study a near-Earth asteroid. The images depict 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.
Part of President Obama’s FY 2014 budget request for NASA, the asteroid initiative capitalizes on activities across the agency’s human exploration, space technology and science efforts. NASA is enhancing its ongoing efforts to identify and characterize near-Earth objects for scientific investigation, and to find potentially hazardous asteroids and targets appropriate for capture.
The agency is creating an asteroid mission baseline concept to develop further in 2014 to help engineers establish more details about the mission. Meanwhile, engineers and scientists across the agency continue to evaluate several alternatives, as well as ideas from the public, for consideration throughout mission planning.