NASA is collaborating with a New York tech firm to create the first ever space shotgun planned to be powerful enough to blast asteroids.
Brooklyn-based firm Honeybee Robotics is creating a shotgun brawny enough to blow up space rock in an effort to test the solidity of asteroids.
According to NASA, the shotgun is expected shoot-off chunks of space rock, sending them into the moon’s orbit where physicists can collect and test the materials — the first steps in an eventual mission to Mars. Currently, the plan is only in it’s conceptual phase.
“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,” Honeybee Robotics Vice President & Director of Exploration Technology Kris Zacny told The New York Post.
Asteroids are left-over materials of the solar system’s formation, if the ARM plan is successful, scientists will be able to test more space rock than ever before.
These tests, according to NASA, would equip scientists with the information needed to plan a crewed mission to Mars. (RELATED: NASA Spacecraft Flies By Pluto, Continues Hurtling Into Space)
When completed, NASA plans to use the shotgun through its Asteroid Redirect Mission, a program NASA’s website describes as a “part of NASA’s plan to advance the new technologies and spaceflight experience needed for a human mission to the Martian system in the 2030s.”
Honeybee Robotics has a nearly 30-years-long successful history working with NASA, creating numerous tools and technology used by government agency for planetary exploration.