Well this certainly won’t help calm all the rampant 2012 doomsday speculation. Chinese scientists at Beijing’s Tsinghua University have decided it’s just too difficult to do research on asteroids out in the solar system and instead want to bring one into Earth’s orbit by altering the asteroid’s trajectory.
A candidate “test” asteroid’s trajectory would only need to be altered by 410 metres per second (tiny in astronomical terms) in order to bring it into an orbit of about twice the distance of the moon for a few years, before it would shoot off again into space.
What’s the purpose for bringing objects that ended the dinosaurs into our immediate neighborhood? What other than the courageous pursuit of
Not more than two pages into the research paper, speculation on mining and profiting from metallic asteroids is listed as one of the primary benefits of capturing “near Earth objects.” How much profit? Try 25 trillion dollars for a 2-kilometer-wide asteroid (half of which, we assume, will go towards paying off the enormous costs of the outer-orbit Pokeballs used to capture the rocks in the first place.)
The rest of the paper is filled with explanations of the sciency type stuff required to bring 2-kilometer-wide asteroids into Earth’s orbit, and from the claims made by the publishing scientists, it won’t actually be too difficult. Of course, it’s also not too difficult to push a huge boulder down a hill — the hard part is getting the boulder to stop before it crushes your house.
You can read the research paper it its entirety here.