I think what you are proposing is a reasonable second or third effort in this sort of thing. Looking at the description in the story and the ESA site, I think the stoy is making a lot more of the impact aspect of the mission than it should. The impact is to test and see if a small [compared to the asteroid] impact has the expected effect, or whether the asteroid has does something unexpected. Based on the craters we saw on Eros, I'd have to say it would be a huge surprise if the expected movement didn't happen.
Originally posted by Tom2Mars
@Jul 15 2004, 02:48 AM
it would be much more interesting to send a package to an asteroid that would unfold a large solar concentrator, cook some asteroid material, release and capture the volatiles and use another aspect of the solar concentrator to heat up and accelerate the volatiles in a direction which would cause a desired change in orbit and bring the sucker in and do something productive with it.
More important is the monitoring of what happens to the asteroid after the collision. Will it be revealed to be a pile of rubble loosely held together by mutual gravity, or is it a mostly solid chunk. I'd guess that most of the sub-kilometer asteroids are one piece with some thin layer of loose debris, but that larger asteroids [like Mathilda for example] are not. So this is a test of one object.
I have agreed with Tom's idea for a long time. Bring that asteroid to an Earth-Moon L4 orbit and use it as a source of Oxygen, Silicon, Aluminum, and Iron. When it gets built up enough, send a few people there to occupy the radiation shielded interior.
Forming opinions as we speak