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DigitalSpace shows off proposed asteroid mission plans

It's already considered sending various types of robots to asteroids, but NASA apparently still has plenty more plans for dealing with near-Earth objects (or NEOs), with it recently asking Santa Cruz-based DigitalSpace Commons to develop a simulation for a manned mission. The company's plans, officially unveiled today, are based on NASA's own Constellation exploration crew vehicle, which the space agency developed for lunar missions but says can be modified for trips to NEOs. As CNET reports, DigitalSpace's planned modifications include a system that would anchor the spacecraft "like a boat in a harbor," along with a ring of sensor-equipped airbags that would detect stability on the ground. While NASA isn't saying exactly when it might attempt such a mission, DigitalSpace says it believes one could be done as soon as 2017.