Asteroids hold clues about the origins of the solar system and the evolution of life on our home planet.
Derived from the Greek word for “star-like,” asteroids constitute some of the most ancient bodies in our solar system.
Scientists believe asteroids formed along with the rest of our solar system about 4.5 billion years ago. Like the moon, asteroids hold clues about the origins of the solar system and the evolution of life on our home planet. Scientists will gain understanding about the distribution of organic materials throughout the cosmos while learning about asteroid trajectories and their interactions with Earth.
Human exploration of asteroids would challenge scientists and engineers to design safe and affordable space systems capable of supporting long duration missions beyond the Earth-Moon system. Asteroid investigations would address the technical, physiological, and psychological challenges of human deep space exploration in preparation for Mars expeditions.