Nasa is planning to lasso an asteroid and park it near the moon to study as part of a a new ambitious mission, the White House has confirmed.

It might sound like a science fiction movie, but President Obama is expected to put $100 million aside for the asteroid rodeo in next week's budget.

Plans already existed to send astronauts to an asteroid, but the galactic lasso is expected to speed the mission up by bringing the rock closer.

It's hoped that by examining the asteroid, scientists could work out how to mine them for materials and learn more about the mineral composition of the solar system.

It's intended that a robotic spaceship would capture a small asteroid (around 500-tonnes and 25-foot) in 2019, before an orion space capsule would send a team of four to examine the rock.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson who unveiled the plans at a press conference said "It really is a clever concept. Go find your ideal candidate for an asteroid. Go get it robotically and bring it back."

Donald Yeomans, who heads NASA's Near Earth Object programme described how the asteroid would be lassoed with the equivalent of "a baggie with a drawstring." He added "You bag it. You attach the solar propulsion module to de-spin it and bring it back to where you want it."

He also assuaged fears of Armageddon-style apocalypse should the spaceship accidentally send the rock hurtling towards Earth, because the asteroid is so small it will merely burn up upon entering the Earth's atmosphere.

An unnamed official told NBC News "This plan would help us prove we're smarter than the dinosaurs," referring to the asteroid that is thought to have led to their extinction.

nasa asteroid

A simulation of the DA14 Asteroid, that passed within 17,000 miles of the Earth earlier this year

Although discussions surrounding lassoing such an asteroid had already been in place, the meteor that hit Russia earlier this year cemented plans. The 10-ton meteor that caused chaos and devastation when it exploded over the Ural mountains could have struck Britain if the timing had been slightly different, scientists have said.

More than 1,000 people were injured when the meteor, which was travelling at over 54,000mph, streaked through the atmosphere and created a sonic boom.

A better understanding of space rocks would help Nasa defend the Earth if there was ever a threat.

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  • In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Chelyabinsk.ru)

  • In this photo provided by E1.ru a meteorite contrail is seen over a vilage of Bolshoe Sidelnikovo 50 km of Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/ Nadezhda Luchinina, E1.ru)

  • In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru a woman cleans away glass debris from a window after a meteorite explosion over Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor exploded in the sky above Russia on Friday, causing a shockwave that blew out windows injuring hundreds of people and sending fragments falling to the ground in the Ural Mountains. The Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement hours after the Friday morning fall that the meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph) and shattered about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above ground. The fall caused explosions that broke glass over a wide area. (AP Photo/ Yevgenia Yemelyanova, Chelyabinsk.ru)

  • In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru municipal workers repair damaged electric power circuit outside a zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed after a meteorite exploded over in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/ Oleg Kargapolov, Chelyabinsk.ru)

  • In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Sergey Hametov)

  • In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Sergey Hametov)

  • In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Sergey Hametov)

  • In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a minivan passes a zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass. (AP Photo/Valentin Kazakov)

  • zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly inju

    zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly inju

    zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly inju

    zinc factory building with about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof collapsed in Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 08

    In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

    A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

    A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

  • RUSSIA METEORITE

    Map locates Chelyabinsk, Russia, where a meteor caused explosions in the area;