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NASA prepares astronauts for manned asteroid mission

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Tim Peake is one of a team of astronauts preparing for a manned NASA mission to an asteroid.

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Anyone who was disappointed to learn that Planetary Resources would rely on robots for its asteroid mining project may want to turn to NASA. The Telegraph has spoken to Major Tim Peake, one of a team of astronauts who will be simulating landing on an asteroid next month in preparation for a manned mission. The asteroid landing would be primarily for research purposes, but Peake raises the possibility of "Armageddon type scenarios" where the team would be asked to deflect an asteroid headed for Earth. To prepare, Peake and others will be spending 12 days living underwater off the coast of Florida. Although the plan is still in its early stages, Peake hopes it will come together soon enough for him to take part. "There is a possibility that if things continue at a good pace an asteroid mission could happen within the 2020s," Peake says, "and that is within the operational time frame of myself and the other [European Space Agency] astronauts."