Next month, NASA will begin training a team of astronauts for a manned landing on an asteroid, the Telegraph reports.
The mission, which could take place within the next decade, would take humans farther from Earth than ever before -- up to 3 million miles away. Mission objectives include collecting mineral samples and -- no joke -- determining how to destroy an asteroid in the unlikely event that it becomes a threat to the Earth.
"Asteroids are interesting on a number of different levels. NASA is focused on the science you can achieve as asteroids are essentially a historical record of billions of years of our universe where we can take samples from," said Major Tim Peake, a British astronaut with the European Space Agency who is part of the asteroid team.
Peake says current technology could support a mission of up to a year, with 30 days actually spent on the asteroid's surface.
NASA plans to release more details about the mission at a conference in Japan later this month.