A rendering of the harpoon embedded in a comet, with its collection cartridge visible inside (Image: NASA/Chris Meaney/Walt Feimer)
NASA's harpoon-testing ballista testbed (Photo: NASA/Rob Andreoli)
A prototype harpoon tip (right) and sample collection cartridge (left) (Photo: NASA/Rob Andreoli)
A demonstration of the sample collection cartridge (Photo: NASA/Rob Andreoli)
Call it Ishmael. Actually, no, call it the Comet Nucleus Sample Return mission spacecraft. Regardless of its name, the NASA vehicle will be wielding a harpoon, not unlike the narrator of Moby Dick. Instead of hunting a white whale, however, it will be after a comet. Although the spacecraft itself is still a concept, its harpoon is in the works now.
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