NASA has announced a goal of landing astronauts on an asteroid by 2025. But there are a number of hurdles, including communications and funding.
Brandi Dean at Johnson Space Center says science fiction movies have covered this ground.
"You've seen the movies; asteroid's heading toward Earth and we need to do something about that."
Another reason to do this is to establish an outpost in space as a halfway point between here and Mars. It would be a lot easier to launch a long-range spacecraft to Mars from space than from Earth.
But space historian Robert Zimmerman isn't buying it.
"The goal of going to an asteroid in 2025 is just blather from President Obama. Talk is cheap."
Zimmerman says he doesn't question the capability of NASA engineers to do the work, but he thinks private space firms are more likely to get this done than an underfunded NASA.