Since the ESA has landed a comet now, NASA has even higher expectations from them, capture one entire asteroid and put it in the orbit of the lunar orbit of moon in 2019. The space agency now states that there will be a delay in decision on how exactly will the so-called Asteroid Redirect Mission will be carried out until 2015. The first option includes capturing of a whole meteorite around 30 feet across, and the second option expects them to land on a much bigger target, Philae-Style, and digging out a chunk of rock the size of a boulder. In any case, the meteorite will be taken and placed in the orbit of the moon, as the mission expects. Astronauts making the launch from the coming SLS or Space Launch System in an Orion capsule will then be intercepting the orbiting piece of meteor in 2020, extract the samples, and bring it back to our planet.
The mission will be helping the scientists in find out methods to defend our planet for any meteorites, and also getting more data about their contents and preparing for deep space missions, particularly the one planned to go to the red planet, Mars.
NASA made a delay in the decision since the Asteroid Redirect Mission committee is still wondering over the second option. Even though it is much more difficult than the first method, it would provide many more skills needed for a future Mars mission. Be it any method, the decision delay is not expect to alter the launch date of 2019.