HOUSTON -

As a part of NASA's 2014 budget, officials said they've come up with a plan that could keep an asteroid from smashing into the earth.

If a big space rock gets too close to the earth, the space agency could use a robotic space ship to catch the asteroid and tow it back closer to Earth and put it in an orbit around the moon, officials said.

Officials with NASA said the plan also would include a later mission that would send astronauts to the asteroid on a mining expedition to check out what the rock is made of. This could possibly help scientists to come up with a way to keep an asteroid from hitting Earth.

Congress will have to decide if the plan is too much for taxpayers to foot the bill.