NASA scientists this week said they want to rope in three asteroids using a robotic lasso and drag them into Moon's orbit so samples can be brought back to Earth for study.
Not every is behind the project.
“You're going to spend billions of our dollars to go out and get a rock in space because it's fun?” asks Keith Cowing at NASA Watch. “That's the full reason why? You can't really explain why?”
NASA's 2014 budget plan sets aside $100 million to jump-start the work on the asteroid mission, though the entire project could cost up to $2.6 billion.
“The current budget process has statements from both sides, especially on the outside saying they are against this asteroid mission,” Cowing tells KTRH News. “So Congress doesn't want of fund it.”
If approved, the mission would include the first lunar gravity assist during a manned mission, and the first time a crew will not have the luxury of coming home quickly if something goes wrong.
“We have satellites in space that can see storms before they hurt people, we can understand the universe we live in, they provide communication,” he says. “We have all that amazing stuff, but then NASA goes off and says we want to an asteroid because its fun, it sort takes the legs out of all the good stuff they've done.”