The Keck Institute for Space Studies in California confirmed that NASA is giving serious consideration to the project which, if implemented, could come to fruition in the 2020s. According to New Scientist, the idea behind the asteroid relocation may tie in with the Obama administration’s enthusiasm for sending a manned mission to a near-Earth asteroid. If NASA robotically fetches and places an object in orbit around the moon, a crewed space craft could practice engaging with it without needing to move beyond the range of a rescue mission.
The Keck version of events would take six to ten years and would see a craft heading to the target asteroid and capturing it in a big bag before bringing it back to the moon.
The potential uses of such an endeavour include testing methode of using space objects as sources of fuel or building material for deeper space missions — perhaps even a voyage to Mars.
( via wired.com )