When will NASA start mining asteroids?
Space travel: NASA plans to land on the most dangerous asteroid
The US space agency Nasa has approved the construction of a space probe for an asteroid mission. After several days of consultation, experts from NASA and external organizations agreed on the design of the space probe, the scientific instruments and the launch platform, NASA said.
Construction could now begin soon. "This is the final step necessary for this mission to turn from paper to finished product," said NASA manager Gordon Johnston.
The mission, known as "Osiris Rex" and costing around one billion dollars (around 725 million euros), is scheduled to start in autumn 2016 and hit the asteroid Bennu in 2018, which is around 500 meters in diameter. Five scientific instruments will then examine its surface.
Space probe is being built by an armaments company
The spacecraft is scheduled to return to Earth in 2023 - with at least 60 grams of asteroid samples on board. The American defense and technology company Lockheed Martin designed the probe and will build it.
From the investigation of Bennu, NASA hopes to gain new information about the formation of the solar system and life. Bennu could also become dangerous to Earth in 2182, even if the chance of a collision is only 1 in 1800.
Third landing on an asteroid in the world
According to NASA, this makes it the currently most dangerous known asteroid for mankind. After the mission, NASA plans to capture an asteroid and pull it into orbit around the moon. Then astronauts could land on it - but not before 2025.
If the mission succeeds, it would be the world's third landing on an asteroid. For the first time in the history of space travel, the NASA probe "NEAR Shoemaker" landed on such a celestial body in 2001. Four years later, the Japanese also landed on an asteroid with the “Hayabusa” space probe. The rock samples collected there were brought to earth by the probe in 2010 - they were the first soil samples ever collected from an asteroid.
The European space agency Esa
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