- No Additional Hardware Required: Asteroids have very low gravitational pull, meaning future manned missions won't require the construction of a specialized lander for touchdown. The spacecraft would simply need to reach the asteroid and fly alongside it, and then astronauts would spacewalk to meet it.
- We Can Do It For Cheap: Right now, ARM is going to cost upwards of $2 billion to pull off. The survey idea will be incredibly cheap, especially if NASA incentivizes private companies to figure out the best method for locating asteroids. As for the manned mission part? Binzel says the money could come out of the overall NASA budget, as the mission falls into many different categories -- including space telescope technology, human spaceflight, planetary exploration, and more.
- Learning About Our Solar System: Similar to what the Rosetta mission hopes to accomplish, gathering samples from asteroids in their natural orbit can tell us a lot about what the solar system was like when it first formed billions of years ago.
- The Saving Humanity Angle: One of NASA's self-declared top priorities is finding asteroids that could impact Earth. Yet NASA has utterly failed at that task. If the space agency can sharpen its survey technology, it's not only useful for finding asteroids to travel to but also finding ones that could someday destroy life as we know it. And the earlier we find them, the earlier we can intervene.