How It Works: NASA Asteroid-Capture Mission in Pictures

Asteroid Redirect Mission Spacewalk with Translation Boom

NASA

In this conceptual image, the two-person crew uses a translation boom to travel from the Orion spacecraft to the captured asteroid during a spacewalk. Image released Aug. 22, 2013. [Read the Full Story Here]

The Engine Burns Blue

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This image shows a cutting-edge solar-electric propulsion thruster in development at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., that uses xenon ions for propulsion. An earlier version of this solar-electric propulsion engine has been flying on NASA's Dawn mission to the asteroid belt. This engine is being considered as part of the Asteroid Initiative, a proposal to robotically capture a small near-Earth asteroid and redirect it safely to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where astronauts can visit and explore it. This image was taken through a porthole in a vacuum chamber at JPL where the ion engine is being tested. [Read the Full Story Here]

Asteroid Capture Mission Initiative

NASA

NASA's new Asteroid Retrieval and Utilization Mission seeks to capture a small asteroid and park it in a high orbit near the moon, possibly by 2021, in order for astronauts to explore its surface. [Full Story]

Solar Electric Propulsion for Asteroid-Capture Probe

Analytical Mechanics Associates

NASA's proposed asteroid-retrieval mission will utilize advanced solar electric propulsion technologies, as depicted in this artist's concept of the spacecraft. [Full Story]

How NASA's Asteroid Capture and Return Mission Works (Infographic)

Karl Tate, SPACE.com Infographics Artist

See how NASA's ambitious asteroid capture plan would work here in this SPACE.com infographic. [Full Story]

NASA's Asteroid-Capture Spacecraft

NASA/Advanced Concepts Laboratory

NASA aims to park a near-Earth asteroid near the moon, where astronauts could visit it by 2025. Here, an artist's depiction shows a notional spacecraft with its asteroid capture mechanism stowed. [Full Story]

Asteroid Capture Mission Notional Concept

NASA

This still from a NASA video shows a notional concept of an asteroid rendezvous mission, in which a robotic spacecraft approaches a small asteroid in order to capture it and return it to a point near the moon for exploration. [Full Story]

Asteroid Capture Mission Bag Deployment

NASA

To capture an asteroid, a NASA spacecraft would deploy a bag-like snare that would completely enshroud the space rock. This still from a mission video animation shows the bag's first stages of deployment. [Full Story]

Bag Deployment for Asteroid Capture Mission

NASA

To capture an asteroid, a NASA spacecraft would deploy a bag-like snare that would completely enshroud the space rock. This still from a mission video animation shows the bag's first stages of deployment. [Full Story]

Asteroid-Capture in Progress

NASA/Advanced Concepts Laboratory

This artist's concept shows an unmanned NASA spacecraft approaching a near-Earth asteroid for capture and transport to a location near the moon. [Full Story]

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