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    • The projectile was moving at 4,474 miles per hour when it hit. They previously fired at the asteroid with a bullet-sized object to obtain surface samples. With the larger projectile, they plan to investigate the sub-surface of the crater that was formed from the copper ball’s impact. Will they find new elements or cellular life forms that survive in space? Or will the blast data help in formulating defenses should an asteroid be headed for Earth in the future?

    • Always cool to be the first to conduct a particular type of experiment, especially when we’re talking outer space. So good for Japan on that front. I guess I’m just fuzzy on what the end goal here is though. Is it to see if we can divert the paths of ateroids should one actually threaten our safety? If so, I’m not sure how this accomplishes that goal. Is to learn more about the composition of asteroids, because I thought we had a pretty good understanding of that given how long we’ve known of the asteroid belt, etc. This sounds really cool and groundbreaking, but I’m just not sure what exact purpose this serves that is of use to us. That’s the source of my skepticism. Sorry for not being more up front about that.

    • Good question, Ben. 😁 As a former geophysicist, I have to admit I think there is an underlying fun factor that draws people to the field. You can blow things up in the name of science! Launch rockets! That's what I told my parents I was doing in the backyard as a kid. I blew a lot of things up and launched so many rockets. Science was awesome. 💥

      Here's what the Japanese scientists did on earth to test their cannonball shooter:

      👆 What a way to make a living!

      Seriously though, when looking at craters on the moon and asteroids, it makes you wonder what made them, how big were the objects, how fast were they going, how dense were they, could some form of life have survived the impact? When the asteroid gets hit, how much rock beneath the surface ends up on top now, and is it different because it hasn't been exposed to so much sun and temperature variations for so long?

      Sometimes I think science is just curiosity. Do you wonder when you see images of all those craters on the moon, what's the story? What part of the universe did all those objects come from and how did that govern their speed, size and weight? If you knew more info about how craters form, could you tell from the craters where things came from?

      This just in:

    • Thanks, Chris! That makes more sense! I’m certainly all about curiosity and finding things out for the sake of doing so. The more we learn about space, the better. Plus, upon sleeping on it, I also think we can sometimes learn very valuable and important things just by being curious for its own sake. I.e. We can discover things on accident that turn out to be both really important and really interesting all because we were just having some fun and being curious.