On the occasion of Curiosity’s last mission, the Red Planet’s interest has grown, but that does not mean that NASA has lost interest in our good moon. This time, the agency’s idea looks like it was taken out of a film or a comic. Americans want to intercept a flying asteroid and then place it in our satellite orbit.
Researchers at Keck Institute for Space Studies confirm that there are actually plans to carry out such an operation, costing it $ 2.6 billion, or around Curiosity budgets. All this “catching asteroids” would be in 2020.
The potential candidate for interception is the asteroid 1999 AO10 – it has dimensions of about 7 meters. A special ship that would fly into an asteroid would be used to catch her, and after a preliminary study, the robot would load her into a special “grid” where the object could be transported to orbit of the moon.
It seems that catching a 7-meter asteroid is slightly pointless, but it is a very important event, for at least a few reasons. First of all, it is much easier to thoroughly examine the asteroid when it is in orbit of our satellite. Secondly, it will make sure that such operation is feasible for us, which leads us to the most important “space stops”. During hypothetical space travel in the future, ships would use asteroids to refuel, for example. Such a “private asteroid” in the moon’s orbit could serve as a test, be a small simulator of landings or take off of space ships from the asteroid surface.