For quite some time now, NASA has talked about capturing an asteroid and then sending it into lunar orbit for research.
Recently, NASA announced that the first phase of the Asteroid Redirect Mission will begin in 2019.
In short, the plan is to single out an asteroid in 2018, capture it and attach it to a spacecraft by 2019, and send both the asteroid and the spacecraft into lunar orbit by 2020.
Then, sometime in the 2020’s, astronauts will be sent to mine the asteroid and study it for information about our cosmic past.
Seems simple enough… But you never know what could happen when dealing with outer space.
Asteroid Redirect Mission Concept Animation: