(Image credit: Dan Durda – FIAAA)
NASA wants fleet of spacecraft to watch infamous Apophis asteroid approach Earth: report
By Elizabeth Howell
NASA wants to bump up the number of visitors to Apophis when the asteroid swings safely by Earth in 2029.
NASA wants a fleet of small private spacecraft to visit an infamous asteroid during its upcoming close shave of Earth, a report suggests.
Apophis, though not a threat to our planet, will pass within the altitude of some satellites in 2029 and will even be visible to the naked eye. The space agency is now floating an idea for industry to create a fleet of tiny spacecraft to watch the asteroid‘s every move.
These theoretical spacecraft would be in addition to NASA’s showcase mission: OSIRIS-APEX or OSIRIS-Apophis Explorer, which will repurpose the ongoing OSIRIS-REx asteroid sampling mission for a study of Apophis.
More spacecraft could be useful for future efforts for planetary defense, NASA officials said in a report published Thursday (April 13) by Space Policy Online(opens in new tab). “Nature has provided us with such a prime opportunity to demonstrate our space mission prowess,” Bhavya Lal, NASA associate administrator for technology, policy and strategy, said in the report.
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