The European Space Agency (ESA) recently revealed that it has set a schedule to design ‘comet interceptor’ probe in the next eight years. The purpose of the probe would be to capture the information of a comet when it enters within the range of our solar system.
The probe will be made of three independent units: one would be the main unit and the other two smaller ones. All three units will split up weeks before reaching close to the comet and start capturing details about the comet, such as the composition of its core, dust, gas, and plasma environment. Researchers will use this information to generate a 3D model of the celestial body and exploit it to understand the origins of comets.
In its preceding missions, ESA deployed probes for observing comets that appear regularly in our solar systems such as Halley’s and Rosetta’s comet. ESA is expecting that with the new probe, it will explore a comet, which resides away from the Sun’s realm. Earlier, the researchers were able to spot the comets a few months before they reach closest to the Sun. However, with the new probe, the researchers can scan the sky and will get to know earlier if any comet is approaching.
To direct this project, ESA has selected researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory.
On a similar note, International Space Station has hired a fleet of robots to help astronauts in the daily activities on the space station. These free-flying robots, known as Astrobees, were launched in the month of April.
Astrobees are cube-shaped robots that work efficiently in a zero-gravity environment. According to NASA, the robots will be the active supporters for astronauts in future space exploration missions, including Mars, our natural satellite—moon, and even to the Jupiter’s icy moon—Europa.
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