Risky Business

by Kimm Fesenmaier

In April 2013, NASA announced that it was in the early phases of planning a robotic mission to snag an asteroid and haul it into lunar orbit for study. At the time, NASA chief Charles Bolden said that such an asteroid redirect mission represented “an unprecedented technological feat that will lead to new scientific discoveries and technological capabilities and help protect our home planet.”

To many, the plan sounded farfetched—like something from a Bruce Willis movie. But to those scientists and engineers who had been working out the feasibility of just such a plan since 2011—as part of a study funded by the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) at Caltech—the idea was already old-hat and anything but Hollywood fluff.

And it was just the kind of thing that KISS is designed to do.

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