This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

03 February 2007

Article: "NASA Mulls Future Mission To Asteroid Or Comet"

We will need to see what these studies arrive at in terms of any viable missions. A few months after the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) was released, some colleagues and I had proposed a paper on this topic. It is interesting that there is some effort to push these human NEO studies using exploration architecture elements, but the NASA mission statement no longer contains wording relating to "protecting life here" as it did a few years ago before. If the goal of developing an outpost on the moon by 2020 fades with the next election, perhaps this [NEO human mission] could be a better testbed for a future Mars mission if the next NASA administrator deems it so [random thought].

"The agency's [NASA's] Constellation Program at Johnson Space Center launched a study last fall on flying the Orion crew exploration vehicle to a rendezvous with a near-Earth object (NEO) for study and possibly even sample return. A separate effort at Marshall Space Flight Center is studying whether it would be possible to cobble together pieces of the planned Ares I and Ares V launchers for an early lunar-return re-entry test with an unpiloted Orion. Also on the table, strictly as a possibility at this point, is using that so-called Ares IV to send humans to a NEO."


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