News / Science & Technology

US Plans to Capture Asteroid

Suzanne Presto
Asteroids were a topic of discussion in the U.S. capital Wednesday as NASA's chief unveiled the space agency's proposed budget for 2014 and lawmakers discussed space threats at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

The proposed fiscal year 2014 budget for the U.S. space agency remains largely steady at $17.7 billion.   

NASA chief Charlie Bolden says the space agency remains on track to meet President Barack Obama's challenge to send astronauts to an asteroid by 2025.  Bolden highlighted a new, related mission in a teleconference Wednesday afternoon.

"NASA is using game-changing technologies advanced by the administration to develop a first-ever mission to identify, capture and retrieve an asteroid.  This mission raises the bar for human exploration and discovery, helps us protect our home planet and brings us closer to a human mission to an asteroid," Bolden said.

The aim is to capture and robotically redirect a small asteroid into orbit in the moon's vicinity.  Astronauts would visit the asteroid using NASA's Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft.  An unmanned test flight of the Orion craft is set for next year.  

Bolden said, in addition to utilizing and advancing technologies, the mission would inspire students who are interested in science and engineering.   
   
Meanwhile, the threat of asteroid strikes was the subject of a hearing on Capitol Hill. 

Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Objects Office, told lawmakers that 96-percent of all near-Earth objects were discovered through NASA-funded surveys of the skies.  He said while significant progress has been made in efforts to find and track asteroids, there is still work to be done to ensure the safety of the planet.

"Still undiscovered are 50 to 100 of the largest near-Earth asteroids and several thousand near-Earth asteroids larger than 140 meters.  In fact, there was a two kilometer -- a new, two-kilometer-sized asteroid -- that was announced today, so we still have a handful of large ones to find and several thousand of the smaller, 140-meter and larger [asteroids to find]," Yeomans said.  

Scientists say if a one-kilometer or larger asteroid were to strike, it could possibly end civilization.  

NASA says its found nothing of this size that poses a threat to our planet in the forseeable future.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid