Read More: Space.com
NASA to launch the robotic portion of its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) in 2021. This will be the first mission to visit and collect a multi-ton sample from a large near-Earth asteroid. The collected sample will be used in a demonstration of enhanced gravity tractor asteroid deflection. Recently at the Robotic Operation's Center of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a robotic capture module system prototype used a mock asteroid boulder to test its capabilities. NASA, along with students from West Virginia University, created the mock asteroid boulder from rock, styrofoam, plywood and an interior aluminum frame. The robotic hardware for the project includes three space frame legs with foot pads and two seven degrees of freedom arms with microspine grippers to hold on to the massive rock.