Comets and asteroids are all the rage these days. Late last year, the European Space Agency gave the world a historic hold-your-breath moment when it landed a small probe on a comet, and late last week NASA reported on its upcoming plans for the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). A priority of ARM is to develop and test the means for putting astronauts on Mars, but the mission also hopes to yield discoveries that will improve navigation and trajectory techniques and even develop new possibilities for planetary defense.
According to the NASA press release describing ARM’s ambitious plan, “a robotic spacecraft will capture an [asteroid]boulder from the surface of a near-Earth asteroid and move it into a stable orbit around the moon for exploration by astronauts, all in support of advancing the nation’s journey to Ma...
20:08 Month in Space: November 2016