What are some good reasons for NASA to send a human mission to an asteroid? We went to the moon before and we go to the space station now. Should we add an asteroid to our list of accomplishments? What would you expect from such a mission to make it a worthwhile endeavor? What would disappoint you and make you feel like it was a waste?
I sent the above as a text message to a number of friends, associates, and colleagues, both persons inside and outside the space industry, just to pick their brains and see what they would think. I did not want to hear exclusively from rocket scientists, but instead a sampling of the tax paying public. Clearly, some responses would be well informed, while others would illustrate violations of laws of physics, and a few make for great comedy. Yet as a whole, they give an impression of the mixed views America holds about visiting an asteroid.
Of course, this is by no means a scientific poll, but I found the responses rather interesting and they should stimulate further discussion.
I will email you when I get home tonight…I think it is a waste because the mission is way too complicated especially rendezvous and docking when it’s moving at such an unpredictable trajectory…how do we get back..how much fuel would we have to carry to do burns & maneuvers to get us back to Earth…dumbest thing I ever heard.
That sounds like an interesting project. I need to think about a reason to make it a worthwhile project. I believe it could be.
I really can’t say I see the point in that. What can we learn up there except how to survive in extremely harsh conditions.
Good reason: training ground to give scientists clues on planet formation; life on other planets; discover new life supprt systems; discovering new life support systems is worthwhile.
Look at program Deep Impact. GSFC landed on an asteroid a few years back. Not an easy feat. Stardust and genesis fly behind asteroids and comets.
I would expect that we further the knowledge we already have about asteroids how we could gain more use for asteroids.
Reasons to go:
1. Be the first to do it.
2. Set up a sensor/camera network to perform thorough exploration of a specific sector of the asteroid belt.
3. Obtain samples, both surface and core.
4. Leave robot explorers behind on one or more asteroids.
Missions become proof of concept goals to be ultimately applied to asteroid belt, planetary rings, moonlets, etc.
5. Photo and map specific asteroids completely, so detailed 3-D virtual environment can be created.
6. Leave cameras and scientific equipment behind, at the destination and along the path, to continue sending data after mission is over.
7. Tow it one mile (to prove bringing them back for mining is possible.
Would be disappointed if we didn’t:
1. Stream video back during the coolest exploration moments.
2. Return with some samples.
3. If we didn’t leave something behind that can keep sending data back after our manned visit is over.
I think that it would be a senseless use for American tax dollars.
Will email. I’m hopefully working on the new NEO program for thesis if they give me data so plenty to say here.
I’m so lost, can’t really help. I don’t know where you would go from there.
There are no good reasons.
Only to determine its gases and true spead. Clearly since asteroids can be destructive, it will be ideal to surf on the asteroids to break them up.
Here’s my take on a mission to a Near Earth Object [asteroid]...Charlie Bolden said that President Obama asked him to not only identify the Earth-threatening asteroids but characterize the asteroids by 2025….in response Charlie said he could identify but characterizing will be a lot more challenging…
My question is “is it worth the risk of human life pursuing this mission…of course I have nothing quantitative today that the risk is greater than a mission to Mars, for example, but chasing the trajectory and trying to escape its orbit appears more daunting than Moon and Mars. Frankly, I don’t agree with such a mission also knowing the budget will have to be enormous to achieve such a mission. Let me know if you need anything.
I think an asteroid would only make sense to the general public if there is a valid reason to land there. The moon made sense because it is the closest thing to Earth. I'm not sure if an asteroid makes sense because I am not sure about the long term benefits for an asteroid unless there is something new to gain.
The project I'm working on is multi-scale so a spacecraft, a rover, and then humans eventually. I'm working on doing the system engineering for technology portfolio selection process for the matter.
Reasons for NASA to go to an asteroid
Issues with planetary defense: Apophis and a few others are considered threats.
If we are going to deal with planetary threats getting information on them is critical for our safety.
There is a theory that life came on a comet or asteroid so this would extend our knowledge of life being able to sustain in that type of environment.
The gravity wells created by asteroids would be great to study if we placed like a radio beacon on one and followed it throughout its course.
Perhaps characterizing asteroids in greater detail as to their composition and origin.
I'd like to see us drill or break one up in a controlled environment instead of the random events we record.
It would be a great way to get an idea of solar radiation levels and their frequency in that specific orbit.
Expect from a program to make it worth their while?
I would expect scientific knowledge of any known threats and basically measurements from the above.
I would also expect any measurement we take to serve as precursors for other missions and scientific discoveries.
It would be intersting to study one that is a heat source or sink or that has an orbiting body (I forget the one we found that has one, but the dynamics there would be a great study).
Anything we send would be a great proof of concept in a low micro-gravity environment which would give multiple engineering project prospects from clearing debris to anchoring on a small rotational body to orbiting something with such a small gravitational pull .
Disappointment if it were a waste?
It would be a waste if we didn't capitalize on the proof of concepts possibilities here.
We choose only asteroids that are too isolated and have no interactions with other elements - I'm personally a fan of the beacon idea that I heard from one of the scientists here at JPL.
I have no idea! I do not have the background or subject matter experience to comment :'(
Good reasons to go to asteroid...as a trial for testing new space transportation systems
What would the asteroid program do? If it is for protection, I'm all for it. I would be disappointed if I got hit by one.
I hadn't thought about it. I'll look at this tomorrow when I am in the office.
What are the benefits to the general public?
I asked a panel of IT nerds! They said they would be more interested in homeland security efforts and not asteroid studies.
I don't see the benefit from seeing the asteroid belt...another planet yes...perhaps seeing how far we can go...or see what we can bring back. I think to make a mission worthwhile (for they are very expensive) then we must be going for reasons that will benefit us. In a way more than scientifically.
1. Assuming we go on multiple asteroid missions, we propose going to ones that are as far apart from each other as possible and leave components on each to support a very, very large integrated radio-telescope system.
2. Visit a relatively stable asteroid (not too wobbly or fast rotating) and land/secure a remotely controlled observatory package.
3. Rendezvous with a very small asteroid and capture/return the entire thing.
I didn't initially see a feasuble use to putting people there, however I was just thinking about it...and I think that depending on the asteroid's orbit/path, there are real possibilities for providing some free transportation to distant destinations; and (not that I know the composition of asteroids) possibly an extended habitat which to explore while making the journey; to keep from being cooped in a capsule like say the Mars 500 experiment crew will be. How whould they get there safely, and what is the exit and return strategy would be my questions.
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Last Updated on Monday, 16 August 2010 15:34