A Mars Odyssey blog has an intriguing post on a possible mission by NASA to send a team of astronauts to asteroid 2000SG344 – which will pass near the Earth in 2030.
The plan involves sending astronauts for a six-month round trip to the giant space rock. They would spend a several weeks on the surface, conducting experiments and testing out new technologies.
Clearly, this mission lies beyond NASA’s plans to land humans back on the moon by 2020. However, it could be a stepping stone to a longer Mars mission. The mission also would help us better understand the composition of asteroids, which could make it easier to deflect one that is on a collision course with Earth.