A near-Earth asteroid or comet could be an early target for human explorers as NASA's exploration shops ponder using a hybrid of planned U.S. launch vehicles for the mission. The agency's Constellation Program at Johnson Space Center launched a study last fall on flying the Orion crew exploration vehicle to a rendezvous with a near-Earth object (NEO) for research and possibly sample return (AW&ST Sept. 25, 2006, p. 21). Separately, Marshall Space Flight Center is studying the possibility ...

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