NASA’s ambitious plans to identify and retrieve a small asteroid and park it near the Moon for a visit by U.S. astronauts as early as 2021 would require a twofold improvement in solar electric propulsion (SEP) technologies, according to NASA. Efforts to improve SEP were under way well ahead of the yet-to-be-priced asteroid mission featured in President Barack Obama’s proposed $17.7 billion space agency budget for 2014, NASA says. “Solar Electric Propulsion has been an area of ...

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