NASA released new details Thursday about a proposed mission to find, capture, redirect and study a near-Earth asteroid in several years’ time. Planned for some point between 2018 and 2021, the Asteroid Retrieval Mission aims to send a manned spacecraft on a 19-day journey to sample an asteroid and return to Earth.
An animated clip released by the American space agency imagines what such a mission would look like, and perhaps in an effort to win over reluctant Republican lawmakers who characterize the mission as a “costly and complex distraction,” NASA has added some dramatic music to its video.
NASA’s video shows the last stage of the proposed mission, in which the manned Orion capsule hurtles toward an asteroid already captured by another spacecraft. With a gravity boost from the Moon, the capsule takes nine days to reach the capture vehicle, where the two dock and the astronauts take a sample.
As awe-inspiring as space-travel is, there’s really only so much excitement in an astronaut taking photos and retrieving a small rock sample. But with the addition of some theme music that would be at home on an episode of Game Of Thrones, the whole affair is suddenly a lot cooler.
Or so NASA must hope. Without funding from the U.S. Congress, the Asteroid Retrieval Mission may not become anything more than the animated video just released.