While dozens of foreign media outlets were discussing the “Sexless Japanese youth” this week, even blaming them for a global economic meltdown that hasn’t happened yet, Japan has been quietly going about its business firing space cannons.
That’s right. Space cannons.
Space cannons that will be fired at an asteroid as part of the search for the origins of the universe.
The device was successfully test-fired yesterday, and Japan’s space agency (JAXA) intends to send it into space next year. In 2018 it will fire a 4lb metal projectile into the surface of an asteroid due to orbit Earth and Mars.
The mother craft carrying the cannon will then land in the vicinity of the crater, allowing a land rover to collect otherwise unobtainable samples to be brought back to Earth by late 2020.
One JAXA scientist explained the samples have “the potential to revolutionise our understanding of pristine materials essential to understanding the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life.”
According to some of the headlines we’ve seen recently they should be focusing on that last part…