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NASA: Help Us Design a Giant Robotic Arm to Move Huge Rocks Through Space

posted: 05/19/15
by: Danny Clemens
The Kuiper belt.
DCL

NASA is undertaking a serious endeavor, and is calling on the American private sector for assistance. Some time in the next decade, the space agency will launch its Asteroid Redirect Mission, which will place a small, "multi-ton boulder" from the surface of a nearby asteroid in orbit around Earth's moon, where it will become the focus of intense research supporting mankind's mission to Mars.

Obviously, moving a rock that weighs several tons through space is no easy task. NASA is reaching out to aerospace contractors for preliminary, unofficial submissions of giant robotic arm concepts. The agency has filmed a formal Request for Information, which contains all of the necessary information for parties who may be able to lend a hand to NASA's Herculean undertaking.

"Today's call for ideas from our industry partners is another important milestone for the Asteroid Redirect Mission, a critical capability demonstration mission that's part of our stepping stone approach for sending American astronauts to Mars in the 2030s," remarked NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot. "As part of our acquisition strategy, we're asking for more information toward the ARM spacecraft concept and also on commonality with a notional robotic satellite servicing spacecraft."

Click here to learn more about NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission

Learn more about asteroids:

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Asteroid and Meteorite
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