NASA designing harpoon to capture comet samples (video)

Scientists are developing a harpoon that would blast out of a spacecraft and collect samples from a comet hurtling by.

How do you collect and retrieve samples from a comet racing through space?

NASA scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center are in the early stages of working that out, by developing a so-called comet harpoon. Check out this NASA video to see what the scientists have been up to in the harpoon test lab. (They couldn't use a cannon in the lab for safety reasons, so they built a big crossbow.)

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NASA
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Anne Dujmovic is an associate editor at CNET News. After working more than a dozen years in newspapers, including a seven-year stint at the San Jose Mercury News, Anne migrated north to Portland, Ore. There, she honed her pastry-making skills as an apprentice. Although she's returned to journalism, she still misses the free pastries. E-mail Anne.

 

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