NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission furthers Mars exploration efforts

The Asteroid Redirect Mission, which has a fairly self-explanatory name, is part of NASA's mission to develop technologies for redirecting and otherwise neutralizing possible asteroid threats. With the mission comes secondary benefits, as well: the early use of technologies needed to send astronauts to Mars and then bring them back.

Today, the space agency updated on its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) efforts, particularly in light of a two-day ARM workshop at Caltech's Keck Institute for Space Studies that took place earlier this week. A Keck study from back in 2012 had proposed the ARM, and since that point NASA says it has "made enormous strides" in forming concepts for possible future missions.

The Keck conference zeroed in on ways the ARM can expand into new options for both the industry and for future exploration. While the space agency says it'll keep using ARM's technologies for its Mars ambitions, others are looking at it from the viewpoint of other space activities, including the mining of asteroids.

Said the space agency in a statement, "As NASA sets it sights on getting to Mars, it's creating new opportunities for the nation. And as we pull together as a nation to create these new opportunities, we'll do amazing things to expand human presence farther into the solar system."