NASA wants to learn more about asteroids by shooting them with space shotguns

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Sep 17, 2015, 11:48 AM EDT

The folks at NASA are still hashing out plans for its Asteroid Redirect Mission, and now they plan to shoot asteroids with a space shotgun. Yeah, we’re digging this plan.

Technology firm Honeywell has released a video showing the development of its “shotgun concept” that could be used in the Asteroid Redirect Mission. The idea works from a few different concepts, but they all involve (basically) shooting the asteroid. Ideas range from rigging the shell to crack when it hits a certain strength (to determine the strength of the asteroid), to bouncing the shell off the surface to study the velocity, to literally shooting it to see how much damage the bullet does.

That last one might be the coolest.

The shotgun concept will likely prove to be an important part of the mission, because NASA needs to find a comet in the “Goldilocks zone” that is the right size, density and makeup to successfully move it and bring it back into orbit around the moon. The mission (which has proven a bit controversial, with some arguing it's a waste of resources) is aimed at helping develop tech that should fit into a future Mars mission.

That’s all well and good, but c’mon — let’s just start working on the Mars mission, already.

Check out the space shotgun in action below and let us know what you think:


(Via Popular Science, image via