- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - NASA is going to send a spacecraft to an asteroid and bring back samples to Earth.

The space agency said Wednesday that the unmanned craft won’t land on the asteroid. But it will get close enough to extend a robotic arm and pluck samples from the surface.

NASA plans to launch the spacecraft in 2016. It will return to Earth about seven years later.

Pieces of asteroids known as meteorites constantly break away and make fiery plunges through Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists are interested in studying them to better understand the early solar system.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden says the mission is a step toward President Barack Obama’s goal to explore deep space.

The mission will cost about $1 billion.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide