Asteroid Redirect Mission is a potential future space mission proposed by NASA. The plan is to to bring a small near-Earth asteroid into lunar orbit, where it could be further analyzed both by unmanned craft and by a future manned mission.
I asked Fraser Cain about potential benefits that can come from that mission and does he think that we should spend our resources for such a complicated mission whils working on manned Mars mission?
Fraser Cain (publisher at Universetoday.com, co-host of Astronomy Cast)
I think that an asteroid redirect mission is a very worthy goal. It will teach us about travelling to an asteroid, how to operate in the low gravity environment, and how to redirect a dangerous asteroid if we discover one coming towards Earth. There are many asteroids which are closer to Earth and require less energy to reach than Mars or even the Moon. Asteroid will serve future human space exploration as bases and refueling stations, so it makes sense to learn how to work with them. And many of the technologies developed for a mission like this will help us when we do eventually send humans to Mars.