Nelson: Congressional Agreement Clears Way for Manned Mission to Asteroid
January 21, 2014 | WMFE - Sen. Bill Nelson says Congress' agreement on a spending plan makes way for a manned mission to an asteroid as early as 2021. The Central Florida Democrat says the House dropped objections to the mission in the trillion-dollar plan funding the government through September.
Nelson says the agreement moves the mission ahead four years.
He says it will serve as a stepping-stone toward a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.
"And it is an asteroid that was only a half a mile in diameter, estimate, that caused the destruction of the Earth when the dinosaurs were here."
Nelson says the project will help scientists study how to reroute an asteroid headed for Earth.
The Orion spacecraft will take astronauts to an asteroid and Mars. It's under assembly at Kennedy Space Center.
An unmanned test flight is scheduled for later this year.