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White House confirms NASA plan to ‘lasso’ and bring asteroid near Earth

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President Barack Obama’s administration will seek $100 million in funding for a mission to tow an asteroid closer to Earth for the purpose of helping future expeditions to Mars, NBC News reported on Saturday.

This corroborates an announcement made by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) on Friday. As the Associated Press reported, Nelson, who chairs the Senate Science and Space Subcommittee, said the request would be made in Obama’s proposed budget for 2014, with $78 million set aside for the mission to grab the asteroid and $27 million for helping NASA identify asteroids that could endanger the planet, a $7 million increase from current spending.

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NASA’s mission proposal, adapted from a scenario (PDF) designed by the Keck Institute for Space Studies, calls for a robotic probe to grab an asteroid measuring approximately 500 tons and 25 to 35 feet in width in 2019 and bringing it into orbit near the moon, which would shorten future asteroid expeditions by months, on top of providing access to the asteroid’s natural resources.

Donald Yeomans, who leads the agency’s Near Earth Object program, told the AP those dimensions would make the designated asteroid unlikely to damage Earth even if it entered the atmosphere, since it would burn up before reaching the ground.

Watch Newsy Science’s report on the potential benefits of NASA’s budding asteroid hunt, posted on Saturday, below.

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The View explodes in confusion after Meghan McCain makes Trump’s Ukraine debacle all about herself

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Meghan McCain managed to place herself at the center of a debate about a whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump.

"The View" grappled with reports that Trump dangled U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for damaging information against Joe Biden, and co-host Abby Huntsman agreed that was an impeachable offense -- but expressed doubts about the accuracy.

"This is a blown-up story and we have no facts, there's no gray area," Huntsman said. "It's black and white, and that would give Trump all the more ammunition if this isn't even true to say, this is what the media does."

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Dem lawmaker encourages acting-DNI to ignore White House and deliver the whistleblower report directly to Congress

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Appearing on CNN on Friday morning to discuss an alarming whistleblower report on Donald Trump's actions that the president's administration is withholding from Congress, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) encouraged the acting Director of National Intelligence to hand the report over and ignore the administration.

Speaking with CNN host Jim Sciutto, Swalwell made a direct appeal to acting-DNI head Joseph Maguire.

"This is an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to unite and say, we don't want this in our democracy," Swalwell explained. "You know, that's why I wrote the Protecting Our Democracy Act, to, you know, have a bipartisan commission look at this."

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Trump’s excuses for Ukraine call obliterated by ex-Bush national security aide

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Appearing with MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle, a former National Security Council staffer under President George W. Bush knocked down Donald Trump's claims about his scandalous call with the president of Ukraine where he reportedly offered military aid in exchange for opposition research on former VP Joe Biden.

With the president asserting that people other than the whistleblower were aware of his comments and didn't object, former presidential special assistant Michael Allen, said that would be unlikely.

"That is not necessarily true," Allen explained. "In the White House, there are people listening in on the conversations, properly, for the purpose of taking notes. A greater number of people see transcripts. But I don't think it is the case that, just because one person came forward, that others wouldn't or couldn't corroborate that story."

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