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NASA Plans to Capture an Asteroid, But Which One? KaBOOM May Provide the Answer

June 4, 2013 | WMFE - There are new details on how NASA plans to grab an asteroid and draw it closer to Earth. NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot was on hand at Kennedy Space Center Tuesday for a demonstration. He said the capture method eliminates the need for a landing craft.

KaBOOM is the acronym for how NASA plans to identify which of the hundreds of thousands of asteroids out there to grab. 

It's a three-antenna array scientists are testing at Kennedy Space Center.

The goal is to eventually use radar wavelengths to pinpoint the ideal asteroid. 

Lightfoot talked to reporters while standing in front of the 40-foot-wide antennas, which look like giant satellite dishes. 

"What's so exciting about this to me is, to go to an asteroid I don't have to land. And therefore I don't have to have a lander. And I can actually still demonstrate all the techniques I'm going to ultimately need to land on Mars, which is we ultimately want to go there to land people there." 

Lightfoot said NASA will use its asteroid retrieval mission as a test of the technology the agency is developing for sending people to Mars. 


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