As the part of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), American space agency NASA and Honeybee Robotics will work together to develop first ever space shotgun to blast asteroids.The space project can blast asteroids into small pieces for collection as samples when a robotic spacecraft reaches near one such space rock in the near future.
NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) aims to chop off a massive chunk of an asteroid and shift it into the Moon’s orbit. Then, a manned spacecraft will collect samples and send these back to the Earth for further examination.The gun can measure the strength of the space rock. Firing a bullet at a boulder’s surface will enable physicists to work out the solidity of the rock by measuring its rebound speed.
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“Collecting and characterising samples from asteroids is an important science goal in itself, and Nasa has identified it as a key step toward human exploration of Mars,” — says Kris Zacny, director of exploration technology at Honeybee Robotics.
The proposed space project, space shotgun is still in its developmental stage. Set to launch in the early 2020s, NASA has lined up three asteroid targets: Bennu, 2008 EV5 and Itokawa. Two more asteroids will join the lineup prior to the ARM launch.
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“Asteroids are a hot topic. Not just because they could pose a threat to Earth, but also for their scientific value and NASA’s planned mission to one as a stepping stone to Mars”, — said NASA Planetary Science Director Jim Green.
NASA and Honeybee Robotics are working together for almost 30 years with different space projects. Honeybee Robotics has created various technology and space exploration tools that continue to enrich our understanding of the universe.
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