NASA Is Building a Space Shotgun to Blow Up Asteroids

A Brooklyn robotics company is helping NASA develop a first-of-its-kind 'space shotgun.'

Honeybee Robotics YouTube

A Brooklyn robotics company is helping NASA develop a first-of-its-kind space shotgun that could be an important part of exploring the galaxy.

Based in the Brooklyn Navy Yards, the people at Honeybee Robotics say the shotgun is less about blowing up asteroids to protect the Earth Armageddon-style, and more about collecting rock samples for scientists to test. It’s still pretty cool, it’s still a friggin’ space shotgun.

“Collecting and characterizing samples from asteroids is an important science goal in itself, and NASA has identified it as a key step toward human exploration of Mars,” Kris Zacny, vice president and director of exploration technology at Honeybee Robotics, told News Australia.

Right now, we don’t have the most accurate means of measuring an asteroid’s overall strength so its hard to tell if we can land a probe on them. The shotgun’s projectiles helps lower the risk, providing a way to judge surface strength. If a hit lands and the asteroid cracks open, it’s a safe bet a probe wouldn’t have the best surface to work with.

The device is still in its conceptual phase, but serves as a fresh bullet point in your list of rebukes to those who question whether space exploration is worth the investment.

“Two words,” you’ll say when they ask whether federal money couldn’t be better spent elsewhere. “Space. Shotgun.”

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