PASADENA, California (AP) — A NASA spacecraft currently in hibernation will be restarted to search for asteroids that astronauts could potentially explore.
The space agency said Wednesday it will awaken the Wise spacecraft next month to begin its new three-year mission to hunt for space rocks at an annual cost of about $5 million.
Launched in 2009, Wise scanned the sky for galaxies, stars, asteroids and other celestial objects. After its primary mission, it focused on surveying asteroids and comets and was placed in hibernation in 2011.
NASA wants to drag an asteroid closer to Earth so that spacewalking astronauts could visit it by 2025 as a stepping stone to flying to Mars. The new mission would seek out possible asteroids for humans to explore.