From Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William Gerstenmaier:
"The mission to find, capture and redirect an asteroid robotically,
and then visit it with astronauts to study it and return samples
takes advantage of expertise across all of NASA in an integrated
approach to exploration. Along with the scientific research and
technology demonstrations happening around the clock on the
International Space Station that are teaching us how humans can live
and work in space, this mission will give us valuable experience we
need in deep space operations to send humans to more distant
destinations in the solar system, including Mars. Through the balance
of this fiscal year, we will work to define an affordable mission
architecture. In Fiscal Year 2014, NASA will begin developing and
testing prototype capture mechanisms and concepts for crew
interactions with the asteroid."
From Associate Administrator for Science John Grunsfeld:
"The crucial first step in this endeavor is to enhance our ongoing efforts to identify and characterize near-Earth objects for scientific investigation and to find potentially hazardous asteroids and targets appropriate for capture. The capture mission will be a highly visible and significant collaboration of robotic and human exploration in translunar space."
From Associate Administrator for Space Technology Michael Gazarik:
"This mission accelerates our technology development activities in high-powered solar electric propulsion. The ambitious mission to rendezvous, capture and redirect a small asteroid to Earth-moon space could not be accomplished without solar electric propulsion technology. This technology also will support the commercial telecommunications and satellite industries, and is an essential step toward future NASA human and robotic exploration forays into deep space."
The NASA budget and supporting information are available at:
Media ContactDC Agle (818) 393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.