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NASA to land astronauts on asteroids by 2020s

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 22:37

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: The US space agency, NASA, says it plans to send astronauts into space to land on an asteroid in 2020s.

And that is not stopping astronauts from simulating an asteroid landing in a 40-foot-deep swimming pool at a Space Center in Houston, reports CNN.

“We`re working on the techniques and tools that we might use someday to explore a small asteroid that was captured from an orbit around the sun and brought back by a robotic spacecraft to orbit around the moon,” said Stan Love, one of the astronauts participating in the test.
“When it`s there, we can send people there to take samples and take a look at it up close. That`s our main task; we`re looking at tools we`d use for that, how we`d take those samples,” he added.

Love and his colleague Steve Bowen, who between them have clocked up more than 62 hours on real spacewalks, took a dip in the swimming pool at NASA`s Johnson Space Center last week to practice climbing out of a mockup of the Orion spacecraft onto a fake asteroid.

Being underwater creates the lack of gravity that allows astronauts to practice walking in space.

The two men were working with engineers to try out tools that might be used, like a pneumatic hammer, as well as the type of spacesuit that might be worn on the asteroid.
NASA chief engineer Brian Muirhead said the initiative was inspired by the 18-meter asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February in 2013, adding that they will certainly assist the plan to land on an asteroid in outer space.

With Agency Inputs

First Published: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 22:37

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