Comet Harpoon

NASA has developed a harpoon/crossbow/ballista for penetrating the surface of comets.  The bow in this test version are made from truck suspension springs, the string is a 1/2″ steel cable.  The test is launched into a barrel of dirt (which apparently is a good approximation of a comet’s surface), because the crossbow could launch the harpoon a mile into the air.

A close-up of the harpoon with an internal sample collection chamber.

Via (and high-res images): NASA

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