How It Works: NASA Asteroid-Capture Mission in Pictures

Capturing an Asteroid

NASA/Advanced Concepts Laboratory

This artist's concept shows a notional unmanned NASA spacecraft with its asteroid-capture mechanism deployed. [Full Story]

Swallowing an Asteroid During Asteroid Capture Mission

NASA

In this still from a NASA video, a robotic spacecraft's capture bag swallows an asteroid in order to return it to Earth. NASA plans to retrieve an asteroid and park it near the moon by 2025, possibly even by 2021, so astronauts can explore it. [Full Story]

Asteroid Capture Mission Retrieval

NASA

This still from a NASA video shows a spacecraft's-eye view as a capture bag swallows an asteroid in order to return it to Earth. NASA plans to retrieve an asteroid and park it near the moon by 2025, possibly even by 2021, so astronauts can explore it. [Full Story]

Snaring an Asteroid on Asteroid Capture Mission

NASA

After snaring an asteroid, NASA plans to cinch up its capture bag in order to secure the space rock for delivery to cis-lunar space near the moon. This still is from a NASA animation depicting the agency's Asteroid Retrieval and Utilization Mission. [Full Story]

Asteroid Capture Mission Return

NASA

After snaring an asteroid, NASA's Asteroid Retrieval and Utilization would use its ion propulsion engine to return cis-lunar space near the moon. This still is from a NASA animation depicting the agency's Asteroid Retrieval and Utilization Mission. [Full Story]

Asteroid Capture Mission Crew Launch

NASA

After robotically capturing an asteroid and parking it in cis-lunar space, NASA plans to launch a manned mission to the space rock to collect samples up close. This still from a NASA video shows that launch blasting off atop the huge Space Launch System mega-rocket. [Full Story]

Asteroid Capture Mission Crew Path

NASA

An Orion space capsule carrying at least two astronauts would chase down an asteroid parked in orbit around the moon as part of NASA's Asteroid Retrieval and Utilization mission. A potential path for the deep-space rendezvous is shown here. [Full Story]

Asteroid Capture Mission Trip

NASA

An Orion space capsule carrying at least two astronauts is seen en route to an asteroid parked in orbit around the moon as part of NASA's Asteroid Retrieval and Utilization mission in this NASA still. [Full Story]

Asteroid Capture Mission Parked on the Moon

NASA

After arriving at an asteroid parked around the moon, a NASA Orion spacecraft would latch onto a robotic counterpart using a robotic arm in order to explore the asteroid, according to this still from a NASA video. [Full Story]

Asteroid Capture Mission Crew Docking

NASA

After arriving at an asteroid parked around the moon, a NASA Orion spacecraft docks with the asteroid's robotic nanny ahead of a spacewalk to investigate the space rock in this still image from a video animation. [Full Story]

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