The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency or JAXA has announced that it created a cannon that can blast a hole into an asteroid. Furthermore, JAXA stated that the cannon has been tested and will likely be sent into space next year.
Now, you’re probably freaking out. Is an asteroid is headed towards Earth? Is that why JAXA created the cannon?
No, don’t you worry your pretty little heads. The cannon wasn’t created for any asteroid-defense reasons. It was created to break apart an asteroid so scientists can study the interior properties.
Scientists want to analyze what’s inside an asteroid because they feel it will give clues as to what the solar system was like during its beginning stages. JAXA scientists plan on blasting through an asteroid named 1999JU3. They believe 1999JU3 hasn’t undergone any transformations since it was formed. By blasting into this particular asteroid, scientists can look to see if it has water and can find evidence of what the solar system was like as it was forming.
1999JU3 is located between Earth and Mars. To get to 1999JU3, the cannon will be attached to Japan’s Hayabusa 2 probe. The probe will head to the asteroid and drop off the cannon and then will take cover behind the asteroid. It will then use an explosion that will push a 4-pound projectile into the asteroid, creating a hole. Hayabusa 2 will then emerge from its hiding place and take some of the interior asteroid gunk and bring it back to Earth.
You can actually watch how this will take place in the video below. And don’t worry, it’s accompanied by the most amazing music known to man.