Say a giant asteroid is hurtling towards Earth that could end all life… What is our line of defence? Well, that’s what NASA is working on with its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which just emerged from the first planning stages.
The idea is as simple as it is ludicrous – it is a giant robotic arm that will travel to near-Earth asteroids (fewer than 121 million miles from the sun at the closest point in their orbit), capture them and drag it off course via an orbit around the moon.
Using this gravitational orbit, astronauts can then hitch a ride on the asteroid and collect samples for examination, before either sending it on its way or blowing it to smithereens. Better than crashing spacecraft into it like we humans have been known to do.
Cool! What’s the timeline on this?
Well… It’s going to be up to a decade. Sorry that it’s going to be so long, but space efforts usually are!
NASA has just crossed a milestone though, known as Key Decision Point-B, or KDP-B for short. This is where the team establish the content, cost and schedule for all the work to be done in Phase B.
The robotic mission is set to launch in December 2021. After a $1.4 billion investment into the project for “industry robotic spacecraft development.” In 2026, we should see crewed missions, but they are still in an early concept phase.
So what exactly are you showing me here?
At the moment, it’s a couple of experiments and a whole load of talking. But the concept is extremely exciting.
The ARM will show off some impressive new technologies like high-power solar electric propulsion, a new generation of autonomous operations, and brand new developments in controlled lift-offs and touchdowns.
Beyond this, we will find out so much more about space with our manned missions – allowing astronauts to extract samples and examine them, along with figuring out how to artificially enhance humans with robotics.
“This is an exciting milestone for the Asteroid Redirect Mission,” said NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot. “Not only is ARM leveraging agency-wide capabilities, it will test a number of new technologies already in development.”
So, a lot to look forward to in the next decade!
What happens in Vegas gets blogged about in January… Extremely thrilled to announce that New Rising Media is making the trip out to cover CES for the first time ever. But this isn’t just any CES, it’s the 50th anniversary of this legendary technology show.
Probably the most requested Netflix feature has now become a reality. In their new update, you can now download movies and TV shows for offline viewing.
People who signed that petition – you’re too late. The Investigatory Powers Act has just been given Royal Assent, meaning that UK Government is soon to become one of the most advanced surveillance states on the planet.
Thanks to a petition with over 120,000 signatures, the Investigatory Powers Bill – Britain’s new surveillance plans – could soon be repealed.
The Autumn Statement may have distracted you from this, but The Investigatory Powers Bill is now as good as passed, with the Digital Economy Bill shortly behind.
People across the globe are returning their Galaxy Note 7 mobiles to Samsung in exchange for apology rewards, to try to put out the fire on their reputation. But which country is getting the best deal? We took a look worldwide and ranked the company’s responses from best to worst.
As per the Autumn Statement, UK Government is set to invest billions into 5G, connecting more homes to fibre broadband and developing the infrastructure needed for driverless cars. But is all of this a smokescreen for the unprecedented surveillance powers they are about to get?
Someone is using former Lostprophets singer and convicted paedophile Ian Watkins’ Twitter account to promote new music - even though he is currently serving 35 years behind bars for his crimes.
While we can create computers that behave like brains, conventional circuitry means they will never perform as quickly as the sophisticated human neural network.
But Princeton researchers may have just solved this future and paved the future for this big area of research - creating the world’s first Light-based Neural Network.
The Next-generation of smartphones will be defined by 5G and Ordnance Survey have busily started work on creating new data-rich maps, to help mobile providers avoid signal drop-outs across the UK - starting with Bournemouth.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.