NASA has just released new photos and video animations depicting the agency’s planned initiative 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 programs. 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 and exploration.
The mission is still just at the concept stage, but it is expected to employ advanced solar electric propulsion technology as a power source for its Orion spacecraft.