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Category: Tech

NASA to Build New, Awesome Spacecraft

Written on December 18, 2011 by R. Depp

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The new high-tech space vehicle comes with a retrievable harpoon.

Scientists at the National Aeronautic and Space Administration () are busy working on a new spacecraft that is more maneuverable and can fire a retrievable harpoon.

The harpoon will be used to retrieve soil samples from comets and any other space debris. The hi-tech harpoon is equipped with necessary tools and will be able to travel back to its home base.

NASA lead engineer Donald Wegel mentioned the problems they will be facing with this current project:

“We’re not sure what we’ll encounter on the comet – the surface could be soft and fluffy, mostly made up of dust, or it could be ice mixed with pebbles, or even solid rock. Most likely, there will be areas with different compositions, so we need to design a harpoon that’s capable of penetrating a reasonable range of materials. The immediate goal though, is to correlate how much energy is required to penetrate different depths in different materials. What harpoon tip geometries penetrate specific materials best? How does the harpoon mass and cross section affect penetration?”

NASA scientists hope to create the best design for the and will be more advanced than the Rosetta harpoon created by the European Space Agency. The Rosetta harpoon has an ingenious design but does not collect samples.

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