Saturday, December 17, 2011

Comet "Harpoon" Being Test Fired in NASA Lab

The comet Hartley 2.
Comet Hartley 2, as seen by NASA's EPOXI mission.
Image courtesy UMD/Caltech/NASA
A prototype of a comet harpoon.
A sample collection chamber for the comet harpoon. Photograph courtesy Rob Andreoli, NASA.
Rachel Kaufman
Published December 15, 2011
An explosive-powered harpoon designed to skewer a comet would be the easiest way to grab a chunk of the icy body for study back on Earth, according to NASA researchers who are currently testing the device.
Since comets have very low gravity—maybe a millionth that of Earth's—landing a probe on one can be a challenge.

MORE: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/12/111215-nasa-comet-harpoon-sample-crossbow-space-science/

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