The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has successfully tested a "space cannon" it will send to an asteroid to demystify the myth of our genesis.
The space cannon will fly on the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft to asteroid 1999 JU3, which is currently orbiting between Earth and Mars. When it reaches the asteroid, the cannon will detach from the spacecraft and fire a metal projectile into the asteroid's surface. Then the Hayabusa-2 will collect samples from the existing pieces of the crater.
Japan is hopeful for fresh samples of organic material from the early solar system, which may shed light on the origins of the universe. The scheduled itinerary for the probe, according to JAXA, is "to reach the asteroid, [1999 JU3], in the middle of 2018, stay there about one and half years, depart from the asteroid to return to the earth at the end of 2019, and come back to the earth at the end of 2020."
[Image: Flickr user Norio.NAKAYAMA]