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"A science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its scientific content."
- Theodore Sturgeon

Move an Asteroid  
  Using practical techniques to change the orbit of an asteroid or small moon.  

Terrific early story by Heinlein; it should appeal to any youngster!

"Now about our job -- We didn't get one of the easy repair-and-recondition jobs on the Moon, with week-ends at Luna City, and all the comforts of home. Nor did we draw a high gravity planet where a man can eat a full meal and expect to keep it down. Instead we've got to go out to Asteroid HS-5388 and turn it into Space Station E-M3. She has no atmosphere at all, and only about two per cent Earth-surface gravity. We've got to play human fly on her for at least six months, no girls to date, no television, no recreation that you don't devise yourselves, and hard work every day. You'll get space sick, and so homesick you can taste it, and agoraphobia. If you aren't careful you'll get ray-burnt. Your stomach will act up, and you'll wish to God you'd never enrolled.


('Misfit' by Robert Heinlein)

"But if you behave yourself, and listen to the advice of the old spacemen, you'll come out of it strong and healthy, with a little credit stored up in the bank, and a lot of knowledge and experience that you wouldn't get in forty years on Earth. You'll be men, and you'll know it..."

[Asteroid] Eighty-eight swung some millions of miles further around the sun. The pock-marks on her face grew deeper, and were lined with durite, that strange close-packed laboratory product which (usually) would confine even atomic disintegration. Then Eighty-eight received a series of gentle pats, always on the side headed along her course. In a few weeks' time the rocket blasts had their effect and Eighty-eight was plunging in an orbit toward the sun.

When she reached her station one and three-tenths the distance from the sun of Earth's orbit, she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit. Thereafter she was to be known as E-M3, Earth-Mars Space Station Spot Three.

From Misfit, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1939
Additional resources -

The basic idea was used some years previously; see ship pushes moon from the Buck Rogers: 2430 AD comic strip (1930) by Nowlan and Calkin, the asteroid rocket from Salvage in Space (1933) by Jack Williamson, planetary propulsion blasts from Thundering Worlds (1934) by Edmond Hamilton, moving a planet from Triplanetary (1934) by EE 'Doc' Smith and atomic drill for moving the moon from Minus Planet (1937) by John D. Clark.

Here's a more fanciful description, from The Last of the Asterites (1940) by Joseph E. Kelleam:

Long, long before, the men of Earth had come shuttling out into space and had planted their colonies like seeds upon the asteroids. Argonauts of space, eager to find gold and spice and food for the teeming hordes of Earth, had come out to the planetoids and had incased them in sheaths of crystal. Adventurous scientists had built atmospheres for these colonies, drawing the precious oxygen like smoke from the barren rocks.

As a space station, compare to the brick moon from The Brick Moon (1869) by Edward Everett Hale, the city of space from The Prince of Space (1931) by Jack Williamson, the New Moon Casino from One Against the Legion (1939) by Jack Williamson, the Venus Equilateral Relay Station from QRM - Interplanetary (1942) by George O. Smith, Wheelchair from Waldo (1942) by Robert Heinlein, the space transfer station from Between Planets (1951) by Robert Heinlein, the Sargasso Asteroid from The Stars My Destination (1956) by Alfred Bester, the tether space station from Tank Farm Dynamo (1983) by David Brin and the high orbit archipelago from Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) by William Gibson.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Misfit
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Misfit
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Move an Asteroid-related news articles:
  - MADMEN Robot Swarm To Handle Incoming Asteroids?
  - Asteroid To Orbit Moon?
  - NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission
  - How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!

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