PEOPLE living today could be the first to witness astronauts landing on an asteroid, according to scientists.
Researchers have been analyzing NASA’s budget since the 1960s to estimate the likelihood of a mission to the asteroid belt within the next century.
They showed that according to their estimates, the first manned mission to an asteroid could take place as early as 2073.
The research was led by scientists at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and was published on the Arxiv website last week.
The team predicted a time frame in which astronauts could land on Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and a space rock in the asteroid belt.
To do this, they examined how NASA’s budget has changed since the space agency was founded in 1958.
Researchers noted a series of spikes in the amount of cash Nasa had to burn according to major events over the years.
These included the early years of the Apollo program in 1966 and the Artemis Project’s announcement in 2018 of returning to the moon.
Researchers led by Jonathan Jiang concluded that the overall trend is one of steady growth.
They also used historical data to predict how the technology might evolve over the coming decades.
Nasa has some leaps to make before it can safely send astronauts on long-range missions to other planets.
Researchers concluded that a manned mission to the asteroid could happen as early as 2073, while astronauts could land on Jupiter by 2103 and Saturn by 2132.
They wrote: “Results so far suggest that the worlds of our solar system that have been mere flecks of light in the night sky throughout human history will soon be within our reach.
“Our model suggests that human landings on worlds beyond the Moon and Mars can be well experienced by many people alive today.”
So far, NASA’s manned missions have gone no further than the Apollo program, which last landed astronauts on the moon 50 years ago.
The space agency has since taken dozens of people to the International Space Station about 250 miles above Earth.
It has a number of missions to distant asteroids planned for the near future, but none with anyone on board.
Last year, Nasa launched a spacecraft that will crash into an asteroid on a suicide mission that could one day help save humanity.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission will collide with the space rock Dimorphos 11 million miles from Earth this summer.
The ambitious project, involving teams from NASA and the European Space Agency, is a test of technology to prevent a killer asteroid from hitting Earth.
Nasa also has plans to send a spacecraft to the asteroid Psyche 16 to study the origins of the solar system.
The Japanese space agency successfully landed a spacecraft on the asteroid Ryugu in 2018 and collected samples that were returned to Earth.
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https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5427024/nasa-mission-humans-asteroid-will-you-alive/ Nasa mission to put humans on an ASTEROID ‘revealed’ – will YOU still be alive?