Man On Asteroid?
Now an asteroid called 2000SG344, a lump of rock barely the size of a large yacht, is in the spotlight again, this time as a contender for the next giant leap for mankind.
NASA engineers have identified the 1.1m tonne asteroid, which in 2000 was given a significant chance of slamming into Earth, as a potential landing site for astronauts, ahead of the Bush administration’s plans to venture deeper into the solar system with a crewed voyage to Mars.
The mission – the first to what officials call a Near Earth Object (NEO) – is being floated within the US space agency as a crucial stepping stone to future space exploration.
This would be a three to six month round trip with a week on the asteroid. Designated 2000SG344, the asteroid is a rock about 150 ft. across, whose orbit crosses the Earth’s.
When Neil Armstrong and ‘Buzz’ Aldren were landing on the moon, they left Michael Collins alone in the Apollo capsule, farther away from home than anyone had ever been (and completely out of contact too, when he was on the Lunar far-side). I recall feeling very sorry for the man in his alone-ness. If this mission is attempted, only these people will have been further away.