Japan tests asteroid-blasting 'space cannon'
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to launch space probe Hayabusa 2 to an asteroid next year, in hopes of sampling a class of asteroids expected to be rich in organic materials. The mission is expected to help astronomers better understand the relationship between asteroid organic materials and those found on Earth, as well as to burnish Japans reputation as a top space explorer.
The news comes just one month after JAXA launched into space its Epsilon rocket, a cost-effective rocket that runs on automated systems, not human operators. The rocket has been billed as heralding a new generation of high-tech spacecraft, along with Japan’s reentry to the forefront of Earth’s foray into the final frontier, after decades of intermittent space flops.
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What's it like to fire a big bullet into an asteroid? Japan's space agency, JAXA, is getting closer to finding out, after announcing on October 23rd that it had successfully test-fired a space cannon. "The speed of the device is over 2,000 meters per second and the configuration is exactly as we had planned," Takanao Saiki, a scientist working on...
Japan has successfully tested a space cannon designed to shoot an asteroid. The Hayabusa2 will launch in 2014, with the aim of firing a metal bullet into the asteroid 1999 JU3 to create a crater for gathering samples. Ahead of the launch Japan has apparently tested the cannon here on Earth - and the test has been called a complete success.
( via csmonitor.com )