President Obama says we should visit an asteroid instead of the Moon. Read what Ray Villard worte about on Discovery.com "Let's Build an Interplanetary Space Station." Link is in the Ref section as always, but I have included a few paragraphs as a preview below...
The Obama administration has directed NASA to send a manned mission to an asteroid by 2025. This is attractive because very little fuel is needed to land on an asteroid, and the journey is shorter than a trip to Mars.
There are over 1,000 NEAs to choose from. They've been popping up in the news almost weekly. Just this week a small townhouse-sized asteroid designated 2010 TD54 skimmed by us at an altitude just a few thousand miles above our geostationary communication satellites.
But rather than simply visiting a co-orbital asteroid and bringing back rock samples, the mission could be used as a step toward the ultimate goal of space colonization.
A carefully selected asteroid with the right density and strength could be hollowed out for an underground base to be established. This would provide a stable temperature, and shielding from micrometeorites and solar radiation. Solar power would be plentiful. This kind of engineering was talked about for a moon colony, but the freight costs to land people and equipment on an asteroid are much lower.
For the rest, please visit Discovery.com.
Ref. Discovery.com. "LET'S BUILD AN INTERPLANETARY SPACE STATION" by Ray Villard. October 14, 2010. (http://news.discovery.com/space/lets-build-an-interplanetary-space-station.html).