Skip to comments.Asteroid missions: be patient, or bring lotsa gas
Posted on 03/28/2007 7:34:29 PM PDT by KevinDavis
Theres been an upsurge in interest in crewed missions to visit a near Earth asteroid. The prospects of new spacecraft, along with the more distant, yet still possible, larger rockets to push the new craft to the Moon, Mars, and beyond have fired the imaginations of scientists and laymen alike. Many say that a near Earth asteroid is the next logical step after the United States return to the Moon, sometime before 2020. Others say that an asteroid mission could be taken even before the return to the Moon. They say such a mission could alleviate the been there, done that feeling which some detractors love to bring up any time the Vision for Space Exploration is mentioned.
(Excerpt) Read more at thespacereview.com ...
A mission to an asteroid, frankly, would give me the heebie-jeebies. I would volunteer for a mission to mars, the Moon, or any of the other moons in the Solar System, but I, personally would not be keen on going to an asteroid.
It does seem a bit like leaping off into the abyss. Given the vastness of space the moon and other planets aren't much different but the perception is different.
Also, some asteroids have very elliptical orbits and can take you on a long ride if you miss your departure time. If we are talking about a mission to an object in the belt, then I do not care to be on a big billiard ball waiting to get hammered.
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