NASA trains astronauts to land on asteroidMay 13th, 2012 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS
London, May 13 (IANS) In a space mission straight from the movie “Armageddon”, astronauts are being trained to land on an asteroid, explore it for minerals and even destroy the object if it threatens the Earth.
NASA wants humans to make contact with an asteroid up to three million miles away by the end of the next decade, something far beyond the scope of Earth-Moon space flight in 1969.
Travelling at around 80,000 kmph around the Sun with almost non-existent gravity due to their small size, landing safely on these space rocks will present a significant challenge, the Telegraph reported.
Among the team of astronauts preparing for the mission is Major Tim Peake, former British Army helicopter test pilot, who is now the first official British astronaut with the European Space Agency.
Major Peake said: “With the technology we have available and are developing today, an asteroid mission of up to a year is definitely achievable.”
A training programme will teach them how to operate vehicles, conduct spacewalks and gather samples on the surface of an asteroid, said Peake.
While the primary goal of a mission to an asteroid will be scientific to learn more about their hostile environments, the skills needed to work on their surface could also prove invaluable should scientists discover one on a collision course with Earth.
NASA is currently monitoring more than 400 objects with potential to hit the Earth, although most are considered to be low risk.
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- Asteroids should be next small step for man in space - Oct 26, 2009
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- Space probe reaches asteroid after four-year journey - Jul 18, 2011
- NASA considering an outpost on the moon - Feb 13, 2012
- Scientist dreams of being first Puerto Rican woman in space - Jul 14, 2012
- Asteroids are linked to meteorites striking earth - Sep 18, 2011
- Study sheds light on asteroid deflection strategy to avert collision - Jan 29, 2011
- Sunita Williams takes fifth spacewalk (Lead) - Aug 31, 2012
- NASA could land probe on asteroid hurtling towards Earth - Aug 10, 2010
- NASA finds fewer asteroids near earth - Sep 30, 2011
- Manned Asteroid Mission May Become Reality - Aug 31, 2010
- Sunita Williams sets a record with sixth spacewalk (Second lead, Changing dateline) - Sep 06, 2012
- Space shuttle Discovery set to return to Earth for final time - Mar 08, 2011
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