It is quite likely that, at some point in the not so distant future, our moon will have a satellite of its own.This is because, as rumor has it, NASA is seriously considering the possibility of capturing an asteroid and bringing it fairly close to the moon.
More precisely: they intend to place it as close to the moon as necessary for the rocky formation to begin orbiting it. As some have put it, the main idea is to “gift” the moon with a moon.
This information was leaked by a team of specialists working with the Keck Institute for Space Studies in California, who argued that the main drive behind this project had to do with the fact that the Obama administration in the US intended to sooner or later have astronauts explore near-Earth asteroids.
For the time being, a space rock referred to as 1999 AO10 is considered to be a favorable target.
However, one such mission would bring astronauts face to face with significant threats, seeing how it would last for about six months and it would expose the crew to significant amounts of radiation found outside our planet's protective magnetic field.
Because of this, bringing an asteroid closer to Earth is regarded by many as a wiser option.
“The two major conclusions from the KISS study are: 1) that it appears feasible to identify, capture and return an entire ~7-m diameter, ~500,000-kg near-Earth asteroid to a high lunar orbit using technology that is or could be available in this decade, and 2) that such an endeavor may be essential technically and programmatically for the success of both near-term and long-term human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit,” reads the report published by the Keck Institute for Space Studies.
The same report argues that having an asteroid orbit the moon is something that could be achieved by 2025 at the latest.
In case anyone was wondering about the costs of capturing an asteroid and making it orbit the moon, it seems that, all things considered, this project would amount to a whopping $2.6 billion (€1.96 billion).
In other words, it would be a tad more expensive than the Curiosity rover now in charge of exploring Mars, Gizmodo explains.