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NASA planning its next big mission right now it sort of galactic rodeo you can call -- the space agency looking the last so.
A small asteroid and park it near the known for astronauts to explore.
The multi million dollar mission taking on new urgency after a space rock came close to earth and exploded over Russia back in -- about 15100 people were injured.
But -- not the only ones working on ways to protect the planet from asteroid scientists engineers.
And policy -- now gathering in Flagstaff Arizona -- that planetary defense conference.
Which kicks off next week joining us now is -- -- the Franklin institute planetary n.'s chief astronomer good to see you thanks very much for being here.
I gotta tell you this whole idea blast doing an asteroid it sounds more like like a Will Smith movie to me what's going on.
Well it may sound like that but the idea is to actually grab an asteroid.
About seven meters in size.
And bring it back to lunar orbit where it could be used as a place for extra vehicular activities.
For two reasons to investigate what asteroids are made from.
And also to do a little bit of preparation for perhaps traveling to Mars how feasible is this I mean how would we actually.
-- or grab a hold of this asteroid and put it where we want to put it.
We actually have developed our robotic capabilities in space to quite a high degree we've had robotics spacecraft flying through the solar system for decades.
So what this would entail would be going out to actually grab a specific asteroid and bring it back -- -- that robotic technology.
That's not really that difficult part but what it does enable us to do is to begin to catalog all of those near -- On asteroids.
That we need to be taking a look at anyway to assess their potential for damaging the -- that sometime in the future so not only could we just collect want to bring back.
But we can also assess how many of them are out there and where.
The cost of just simply finding the right asteroid.
To try to target is somewhere in the neighborhood of about a hundred million dollars.
And that doesn't even include.
Building the robotic.
Speedo engineering -- it's actually go and do the job.
People are wondering is this worth it.
The way it turns out to be worth it Rick is that a number of the technologies that would be needed to actually make this happen.
Are already under way for other projects so that would reduce the cost of doing something like this already we're just using technologies that are already in existence -- -- in development.
But a hundred million against the value what what what happened to the planet.
If an asteroid of considerable size would strike a larger urban area is really quite -- 100 million is nothing compared to that so it's really worth it.
To do what we can to identify these asteroids even if it is for research bringing one to lunar orbit for -- to take a close look at.
Terry Pitts is with the Franklin institute planetary and he's the chief.
Astronomer as a kid growing up in south Jersey the Franklin institute was my favorite place to go -- we'd had a family outing.
Look forward to bringing my kids to visit a great museum in the city of Philadelphia everybody to go.
Check it out thanks very much for your time -- Thanks a lot Rick we'll look forward to seeing you at the museum.
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