Revealed: Nasa plan to 'lasso' asteroid the size of two buses and turn it into a 'space station' to orbit the moon
• A giant bag would be cast over it and it would be towed to new location
• Captured asteroid could provide stepping stone for exploration of Mars
• It would be first time a celestial object has ever been moved by humans
By Sean O'hareNasa scientists are planning to capture a 500 ton asteroid , relocate it and turn it into a space station for astronauts on their way to Mars.
The White House's Office of Science and technology will consider the £1.6bn plan in the coming weeks as it prepares to set its space exploration agenda for the next decade.
If approved it would be the first time a celestial object has ever been moved by humans.
A feasibility report prepared by Nasa and California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
scientists outlined how they would go about capturing the asteroid.
A, 'asteroid capture capsule' would be attached to an old Atlas V rocket and directed the asteroid between the earth and the moon.
Once close, the asteroid capsule would release a 50ft diameter bag that wrap around the spinning rock using drawstrings.
The craft would then turn on its thrusters, using an estimated 300kg of propellant, to stop the asteroid in its tracks and tow it into a gravitationally neutral spot.
From here space explorers would have a stationary base from which to launch trips deeper into space.
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