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!
Another year, another tonne of TV announcements at CES 2017 - but what were the best screens out there in Vegas? I found out and wrote a feature for BBC's Science Focus Magazine!
Everybody hates Blue Monday - the gloomiest day of the year according to research. Well, let's cheer things up with the chance to win a Monster Superstar Hotshot: one of the best bluetooth speakers I've ever tested. To enter, just subscribe to New Rising Media's mailing list.
We all love to take pictures of the starry skies at night. But to achieve the same incredible astronomy photography seen on desktop wallpapers and magazines, it takes some incredibly expensive and cumbersome equipment. That is until now, as the Tiny1 reproduces incredible space pictures with the form factor of a smartphone.
Ever wished you could just shut out the times when your friends decide to watch terrible shows on the TV? Well, with Holosonics Audio Spotlight speakers, now you can - built to project sounds like a beam of light to the person sitting right in front of it.
Way back in October, I wrote a somewhat controversial piece about why the Nintendo Switch is set up for failure - highlighting some key problems the company should avoid if they want to stand a chance against Sony and Microsoft. Did they listen? Let's take a look at what they announced in Tokyo.
When you think of in-store posters, chances are you imagine a simple poster hanging in the window. But Kino-mo are looking to innovate with their brand new Hypervsn technology - bringing 3D holograms to stores.
As the next Snapchat Spectacles location was revealed just outside the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, Snap Inc. quickly became one of the most influential companies at CES without actually being on the show floor.
Named ‘Project Alloy,’ Intel’s Virtual Reality hardware is set to up the game by mapping your room and adapting it as part of the video game you’re playing.
Meet Olly - a CES Innovation Award-Winning robot by Emotech which they claim has both “feelings,” and a “personality.” As someone who was equally amazed and terrified when watching Her, I’m going to give this device the benefit of the doubt.
Keeping the CES TV battles alive, Samsung has announced their brand new 75-inch 4K QLED TV - the “Q” meaning a ‘Quantum Dot Technology’ to produce near-true-to-life colour.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.