NASA Calling Out For Help For Upcoming Asteroid Redirect Mission
It seems US space agency NASA is calling out for some help to complete its upcoming Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) which intends to capture a boulder from the surface of an asteroid, drag it into orbit around the Moon and then bring it back to the Earth for further study.
In order to fulfil the proposed mission, NASA has announced that it will begin accepting proposals from aerospace companies for different aspects of the mission under the new Asteroid Redirect Mission Umbrella for Partnerships (ARM-UP) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) project from September 2016 until August 2018. The space agency will accept proposals for partner-provided payloads, such as scientific instruments and for experimentation on the asteroid, reported Yahoo.
It is to be noted that NASA's asteroid capture mission will get completed in two stages which has been planned for 2021 and 2026 respectively. The first will be a robotic segment, or Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM), and the second will be a crewed segment, or Asteroid Redirect Crewed Mission (ARCM). In the first stage, the space agency will send a robotic spacecraft to the asteroid, 2008 EV5. What the robotic vessel will do it that it will survey the asteroid surface, select an appropriate asteroid boulder, capture the boulder and then drag it to the lunar orbit by conducting a slow push planetary defense demonstration.
Next in line will be NASA's Asteroid Redirect Crewed Mission as part of which an Orion spacecraft with astronauts on board will make its way to the boulder, collect asteroid sample and return back to Earth. The space agency is hoping that the asteroid sample will provide insight into the formation of the solar system, how life on Earth began and will also help in determining the potential value of asteroid resources, reported Engadget.
More details on the project is expected to be announced during NASA's virtual community forum which is scheduled to happen on September 14, 2016.