Obama's asteroid grab as he shoots for Mars

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Obama's asteroid grab as he shoots for Mars

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Part of the US’s space budget for next year will be spent on trying to capture an asteroid.

Some 17.7 billion dollars, close to 14 billion euros, has been earmarked for NASA in 2014.

Although there are some who would rather see that money used to send American astronauts to the Moon, that is not on the cards.

Instead, US President Barack Obama has asked NASA to find a small asteroid that could be robotically-towed towards Earth and put into orbit around the Moon.

The goal is to make the asteroid a place astronauts could visit and explore. There could also be the possibility of mining and investment for space entrepeneurs.

In addition, it could be a stepping stone for an eventual human expedition to far-away Mars, anticipated in the 2030s.

The asteroid grab is part of a larger plan of learning how to identify asteroids heading toward Earth and to change their course.