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Old April 14 2013, 01:11 AM   #22
Crazy Eddie
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Re: How does one "lasso" an asteroid?

not wrote: View Post
gturner wrote: View Post
Yeah, a manned sample and return mission to lunar orbit? Why not just have the probe return with a coffee-can full of material and just splash-down with it? They multiplying the costs by a very large amount and pushing the schedule back to 2025.

I would think the only reason for sending a manned mission to the recovered asteroid is to do anything required to process it into useful materials, since any sampling could be done with a second probe tele-operated from Earth.

Why wouldn’t the original capturing device be made to collect samples and return to earth –something like escape pods?
Sample return missions are pretty mundane, actually, especially when it comes to near Earth asteroids. NASA's basically written that off as "too easy" and assumes that other agencies and/or companies will try to do that anyway (DSI and Planetary Resources are preparing to do exactly that eventually).

The whole point of capturing the asteroid is that you can put it in orbit of the moon where human explorers will be able to inspect it up close in a relatively cheap and short-term mission without having to break it apart or risk contaminating the samples. Also, that asteroid would inevitably be broken down for raw materials when they were done studying it; NASA probably figures they can find a good metallic asteroid with an abundance of platinum group metals and maybe kick off the start of a deep space gold rush.
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