In all geologic time, the responsibilities are on our generation ... including you ...

Obama-NASA Asteroid Retrieval Mission

In April 2013, the Obama Administration submitted the NASA budget for 2014, and it included $ 105 million for the first year of funding for a mission to retrieve a small asteroid of roughly 7 to 10 meters diameter, using propulsion, to move it into a high Earth orbit, possibly a high lunar orbit.

The origin of this mission was a study by the private Keck Institute titled Asteroid Retrieval Feasibility Study which was published in April 2012. Basically, the Keck Institute mission concept was pitched to Obama's White House in 2012.

(Notably, the Keck Institute's report was published around the same time as the Planetary Resources, Inc., announcement that it was privately funding asteroid detection telescopes.)

The project discussed by NASA would have a rocket launch the spacecraft in 2017, arrive at the asteroid in 2019, and bring it back to high Earth orbit by 2021. (This is actually sooner than the Keck Institute study, which had a timeline for the asteroid to arrive in 2025.)

The total cost of the mission would be $ 2.6 billion thru 2021. After that, astronauts would go work on the asteroid in high Earth orbit.

The main goals are:

  • Develop and demonstrate the technology to change an asteroid's orbit, in case we detect one headed on a collision course with Earth.

  • Develop the ability for asteroids to work in space far beyond the space station in low Earth orbit.

  • Develop technologies to mine and utilize extraterrestrial resources to "live off the land".

  • Develop technologies which would be useful for a human mission to Mars.

Naturally, its promoters have pointed out how some traditional interest groups will benefit, in order to garner political support. However, in my opinion, they haven't promoted the exciting prospects of space industrialization and human colonization enough.

How far this goes in the funding process has yet to be seen.

At this point in time, these tiny asteroids of 7 to 10 meters in diameter are extremely difficult to detect, so we don't have many in our database. The vast majority of asteroids we know about are much larger than this. Therefore, we need to quickly discover and map the trajectories of many more asteroids. This is what Planetary Resources Inc. and others are trying to do.

(By comparison, the Russian meteor of 2013 was about 17 meters in diameter, and was entirely undetected until it struck. However, 7 meter wide generally burn up in the upper atmosphere harmlessly, and asteroids this size probably pass near Earth fairly often without touching the atmosphere, just undetected.)

It would also be good to have multiple targets because if the launch date slips much, then an asteroid can "get away" since they usually have short launch window dates before they can go too far past an economical diversion trajectory.

The mission will also require we deploy a larger array of our usual electric thrusters, and/or significantly scale up the size of each unit, to consume 30-50 kW of power continuously.

None of this is a huge challenge, but it must be done as a dependency for the mission to stay on schedule. Since it is government funded, there are potential bureaucratic delays and further dependencies.

Nonetheless, it's great to see these ideas being promoted so seriously, especially since the private sector could do it at a fraction the cost if a company ever took interest ... > Asteroids, Near Earth Objects (NEO) > Probes to Asteroids and NEOs > Obama-Keck asteroid retrieval

Please provide quick feedback on this page. It is encouraging to just know people read anything on this site and care enough to give some quick feedback.

Which one are you?:

How many stars would you give this page?
1 = very bad
2 = less than expected but okay
3 = average or no opinion
4 = good
5 = excellent

What is your age range?
Under 20
over 60

If you choose to submit feedback, then I wish to thank you in advance. After you click on Submit, the page will jump to the top.

Reasons to do something yourself:

  • It will help save life on our special planet -- be part of the solution in your generation.
  • It will create and secure a better future for your children and grandchildren.
  • It could be an interesting, cool, and a fun adventure for your life!

You can join us and volunteer to help out,

... or ...

If you're short on time, you can just donate by seeing our donate page, or contact Mark Prado via his personal website at

If you really much prefer to send by cryptocurrency, then you can donate into a wallet of any of our cryptocoins, though this is our least preferable way to receive donations ..., so please donate this way only if it's really much more convenient or feasible for you. The wallets are included in my cryptocoin critiques opinion page.

... or ...

Suggest this website to other people and organizations.


PERMANENT needs a PHP / MySQL (actually, MariaDB) programmer. Are you a PHP / MySQL programmer interested in getting into space development as a career, or already working in space development? Or do you know somebody else who might be interested?

This is a volunteer, unpaid role at this point in time. A limited paid role would be considered on a tight budget, such as for at least bug fixing with some minor improvements, and/or a security review of our code before it goes online publicly. If you or one of your friends or associates may be interested, please send an email to spaceprogrammer at ... of course this domain.

To get updates on PERMANENT (occasional, not frequent), get on our mailing list.

For general or specific e-mail regarding PERMANENT, please use our Feedback page.

Leave information about yourself in our people, companies, and organizations database.

If you are interested in hiring our expertise, anywhere in the world, please contact us.
We have people in the USA and Thailand, and can travel or consult by internet.
You can call anytime, 24/7, at +66-8-1135-7977

Text by Mark Prado, Copyright © 1983-2024, All Rights Reserved.
Many website artistic design elements by Sam Fraser, Copyright © 1999-2024, All Rights Reserved.

Except where specifically stated otherwise,
Copyright © 1983-2024 by Mark Evan Prado, All Rights Reserved


P rojects to E mploy R esources of the M oon and A steroids N ear E arth in the N ear T erm

P rojects to E mploy R esources of the M oon
and A steroids N ear E arth
in the N ear T erm

This website has a lot of text content, so here are some suggestions on how to navigate and also recognize pages you're seen already vs. still unseen pages in the SiteMap.

There are 2 ways to browse this website:

  • A menu floats on the top left (unless you have JavaScript disabled, in which case you must use our SiteMap).


  • The SiteMap page.

The pulldown menu and the SiteMap are the same tree of pages and links. The pulldown menu offers + and - for expand and collapse sections/subsections/sub-subsections... of the tree, sometimes multiple levels, whereas the SiteMap has everything expanded with no + or - expand and collapse options so the SiteMap is much longer, compared to the pulldown menu if not fully expanded. You may just choose which of the two formats you prefer at a particular time.

The SiteMap colors links red which you have already visited, vs. normal blue for still unseen. It is convenient to browse the SiteMap in one tab or window, and opening pages in other tabs/windows (Ctrl-click or right-click), such as browsing the whole SiteMap to skip pages you've already seen and to choose to open pages you haven't read yet.

The pulldown menu doesn't change the color of seen pages, unfortunately, unlike the SiteMap. However, using the pulldown menu, you can quickly browse the list of sections and other pages without leaving the page you're on. The SiteMap is a separate page of its own.