If Barack Obama gets his way, NASA will send astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025, with the hope of capturing it.
So how exactly would that work?
Earlier this year the space agency solicited proposals and received over 400 responses. Many of these proposals were scheduled to be discussed this week at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, but due to the government shutdown, that workshop was abruptly canceled.
Nonetheless, the video animation below gives us a tantalizing glimpse into one proposed method for asteroid retrieval, which would serve as a stepping stone for future missions to asteroids. A small near-Earth asteroid would be robotically captured and bring it into a stable lunar orbit. The asteroid would then be explored by human astronauts.