Nasa has announced an ambitious project to capture a small asteroid and park it next to the moon for astronauts to explore.
Barack Obama has promised $100million (£65million) to fund the mission announced by US senator Bill Nelson this week.
Not content with searching for signs of life on the moon, the US space agency plans to use a robotic spaceship to ‘lasso’ the asteroid.
Senator Nelson said capturing the 500-tonne space rock would speed up by four years the existing mission to land an astronaut on an asteroid.
‘It really is a clever concept,’ he said at a news conference in Florida on Friday. ‘Go find your ideal candidate for an asteroid. Go get it robotically and bring it back.’
Nasa hopes to use the mission to develop the capability to nudge away a dangerous asteroid if one headed to Earth in the future.
It would also be used as…
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