Last month, Japanese Space Agency JAXA’s robotic Hyabusa2 spacecraft shot and deliberately bounced off asteroid 162173 Ryugu just to see what would happen. Hardcore. To wit:
Before impact, Hayabusa2 fired a small bullet into 162173 Ryugu to scattered surface material and increase the chance that Hayabusa2 would be able to capture some. Next month, Hayabusa2 will fire a much larger bullet into Ryugu in an effort to capture sub-surface material. Near the end of this year, Hayabusa2 is scheduled to depart Ryugu and begin a looping trip back to Earth, hopefully returning small pieces of this near-Earth asteroid in late 2020. Studying Ryugu could tell humanity not only about the minor planet‘s surface and interior, but about what materials were available in the early Solar System for the development of life.
The concept of ‘Warp Drive’ featured in Star Trek (and other science fiction) can be a little tricky to visualise, given that Warp 1 is the speed of light and Warp 6 is 392 times the speed of light.
Trekkie EC Henry compares the relative speeds of various ships from the Star Trek canon including the original Enterprise NX-01, subsequent Enterprises, Voyager and Defiant, racing them from Earth to the edge of the solar system,.
The rocket returned safely to earth but not before atmospheric conditions during the launch caused what appeared to be a spectacular nebula in the sky, prompting LA mayor Eric Garrett to issue a reassuring tweet.