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Near Earth Object Discovered

1 Aug 2011, 06:35 UTC
Near Earth Object Discovered
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The Lunar Science Forum at NASA Ames finished this week. According to press releases, the new plan is for humans to reach an Near Earth Object by 2025. However the technology needed, such as heavy lift boosters and a crew capsule, is struggling for funding. The challenges of taking a crew millions of miles from Earth are daunting. Studies have found that the NEO's we can reach by 2025 are mostly small, with diameters of 20-40 meters. The public may not be excited about spending billions to reach such small objects. Researchers can point to little science on an NEO that can not be accomplished with unmanned spacecraft. Some doubt if there is a goal at all.Fortunately NASA has discovered this Near Earth Object only 384,400 kilometers away. It is large enough to support multiple missions. It is known to contain water and other resources that astronauts could exploit. The possible benefits to science would be enormous, from geology to astronomy. As one example, a radio telescope on the far side of this object would be shielded from the electromagnetic noise of Earth. Possibly after looking at more distant NEO's, the US will consider going here first.As readers of this ...

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