Nelson, chairman of the Senate Science and Space Subcommittee, said Friday that Obama is putting $100 million for the asteroid mission in the 2014 budget due out next week, reports Bay News.
“This is part of what will be a much broader program,” Nelson said in Orlando. “The plan combines the science of mining an asteroid, along with developing ways to deflect one, along with providing a place to develop ways we can go to Mars.”
Their jointly produced Asteroid Retrieval Feasibility Study suggests that bringing a 500-ton asteroid closer to Earth would give astronauts a “unique, meaningful and affordable” research destination for the next decade.
Astronauts aboard America’s Orion capsule will be sent into space on a massive new rocket called SLS, capable of lifting enormous payloads far beyond low-Earth orbit. The U.S. hasn't had a rocket capable of this since 1972. Nelson and former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey secured approval for the SLS in 2010.