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'By far the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it'

 

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NASA plans to go fishing for asteroids with harpoon-like spacecraft

RATE THIS! +43
Posted in Science on 24th Feb, 2014 11:31 PM by AlexMuller

Landing spacecraft on asteroids is a delicate, precise process that takes a lot of planning. Harpooning a fish, on the other hand, is the work of an instant. A new plan put forth by University of Washington professor Robert Winglee aims to marry these two wildly different actions.

 

The idea is to fire harpoon-like sampling rockets right into the surface of asteroids in order to take mineral samples. More than simple kamikaze missiles, these space harpoons are to be sophisticated sampling devices, tethered to a secondary capsule capable of making the return trip to Earth. Here's how the system works:

 
The harpoon bores into an asteroid. Holes in the harpoon's head funnel debris from the crash into a second capsule within the rocket's nose cone. This second capsule is then reeled in by the second craft, still in orbit around the asteroid. Securing the capsule, the second craft then cuts the line and makes its way back to Earth.

Tags: NASAspaceasteroidEarthrocket

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-25
+3
Asteroids are an important target in space exploration. One reason is that they could contain resources that could be very useful here on Earth- now this method of "sampling" should help to find out which ones to go for
5 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-25
+0
Great, what is needed for our growing population is some hope of new resources that can be found and used without harming our planet even further Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-25
+0
The expectation is not a mountain of extraterrestrial supply of metal - the aim is to fuel human voyages deeper into the galaxy Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-25
+0
If we are successful producing resources in space then it makes what NASA wants to do, which is going to Mars, that much less expensive Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-25
+1
It would be one of many scars on the lunar surface! The researchers believe that impacts from rocks of about 1m in diameter could be far more common than was previously thought - both on the Moon and on Earth. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-25
+1
Some interesting new work reported recently that ancient asteroid impacts on the near side of the moon produced larger basins than those on the far side due to the composition of the crust on the two sides of the moon.
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-25
+0
It is surprising that we are continuing to find out new things about the Moon Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-25
+1
There is another important point: for survival of the human species, we have to address the asteroids, or they will address us. Because statistically a big enough one will come along that will scrub the planet clean and set it back to zero
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-25
+0
This new skills might just save mankind from sharing the fate of the dinosaurs - if we can learn how to stop a massive asteroid smashing into Earth. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-25
+0
Yes, a shift in climate caused by a big asteroid strike may have killed off the dinosaurs. NASA is taking the risk of another such impact seriously enough to go looking for similar threats. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-07-22
+0
I'd veutnre that this article has saved me more time than any other. Reply


 

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