NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission is moving ahead with its goal of grabbing a boulder off a passing asteroid and placing it in orbit around the moon. That kind of technology could come in handy given what we're learning about the number of space rocks flinging themselves toward Earth.
The mission cleared a key hurdle recently by passing a program review, allowing the robotic segment of the project to move on to design and development, said NASA.
The Asteroid Redirect Mission, a part of NASA overarching journey to Mars mission, is scheduled to launch in 2021, said Space.com.
NASA updated the target date for the Asteroid Redirect Mission earlier this year and the cost of the project has increased from $1.25 billion to $1.4 billion, noted NASA. The manned segment of the mission remains in its early stages and is targeted for 2026.
"This is an exciting milestone for the Asteroid Redirect Mission," said NASA associate administrator Robert Lightfoot. "Not only is ARM leveraging agency-wide capabilities, it will test a number of new technologies already in development."
Universe Today reported in 2015 that the asteroid redirection project was repurposed from NASA's original technology meant to service satellites with the robotic refueling of the International Space Station.
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