NASA has issued The Asteroid Grand Challenge, an effort to solicit ideas for how to capture an asteroid and, later, send humans to asteroids.
NASA wants our help snagging an asteroid.
On Tuesday, NASA announced an Asteroid Grand Challenge that solicits the public’s help in proposing asteroid-wrangling strategies for the agency’s Asteroid Initiative.
"NASA already is working to find asteroids that might be a threat to our planet, and while we have found 95 percent of the large asteroids near the Earth's orbit, we need to find all those that might be a threat to Earth," said NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, in a press release. "This Grand Challenge is focused on detecting and characterizing asteroids and learning how to deal with potential threats. We will also harness public engagement, open innovation and citizen science to help solve this global problem."
NASA’s Asteroid Initiative includes the capture and redirection of a 500-ton near-Earth asteroid into a stable orbit as well as missions to send astronauts to asteroids. According to the initiative’s current timeline, NASA will assess asteroid candidates until 2016, launch a mission to the asteroid in 2017, capture the asteroid in 2019, and send it into trans-lunar orbit in 2021. Throughout that timeline, NASA will test the unmanned Orion spacecraft, in hopes of sending a manned mission aboard the craft in 2021.