Japanese Test Asteroid Space Cannon

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(Image Credit: Akihiro Ikeshita/JAXA)

Scientists in Japan have recently tested a ‘space cannon’ used to blast the surface of an asteroid to gain valuable data from the rock not readily available on the surface.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are planning for a 2018 scheduled mission after the successful test, which will see the cannon launched into space next year to meet the 2018 timeline. The cannon will be mounted to the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft, and fly off to its intended target, Asteroid 1999JU3 which orbits between Mars and Earth. Once the data is collected, the spacecraft will then head back home, scheduled to land back on Earth by 2020.

The pristine materials the blast will expose are an essential part of the puzzle for researchers trying to understand how planets are formed, and – possibly – will help them to learn about the way life forms could arise, JAXA said.

Check out the article here at ABC AU.