NASA is building a harpoon-bearing spaceship, reps at its Goddard center in Maryland report. NASA researchers hope to use the new spaceship to spear and take samples from the nuclei of passing comets. Osiris Rex is looking at a 2016 take-off date.
The space sampling project is testing various technologies for the Osiris Rex mission — the ship will fire the harpoon and sample gathering equipment right into moving comets, not an easy feat.
The goal is to learn more about the origins of our solar system and about how life began.
Lots of great detail in that video. If you want to read more on this project, my favorite story on this so far is at Popular Science — Disclosure: This writer penned that magazine’s tech column in the mid to late 1990s.
Below, check out a prototype of the crossbow-like comet harpoon.
Photo courtesy: Rob Andreol for NASA.