Wired is today reporting an extraordinary new initiative by NASA to capture a good-sized space rock and put it in orbit around the Moon.
The ambitious mission, which will cost in the region of $1.25 billion, could launch as soon as December 2020.
It will take about two years to reach the asteroid (the most likely candidate is a quarter-mile-wide rock called 2008 EV5). The spacecraft will spend up to 400 days there, looking for a good boulder. After picking one—maybe around 13 feet in diameter—it will bring the rock over to the moon. In 2025, astronauts will fly NASA's still-to-be-built Orion to dock with the asteroid-carrying spacecraft and study the rock up close.
The mission will be unmanned, but there's no reason why Bruce Willis and Xzibit can't be recruited as the public faces of the mission. Suggestions of this nature to NASA were unanswered at time of going to press.
Read More: Wired