April 17, 2024

WHY IN NEWS?

Recently, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that its new spacecraft, named Near-Earth Asteroid Scout or NEA Scout, has completed all required tests and has been safely tucked inside the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

About NEA Scout:

  • Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, or NEA Scout, is a miniaturized spacecraft, known as a CubeSat, developed under NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Program.
    • AES pioneers new approaches for rapidly developing prototype systems, demonstrating key capabilities, and validating operational concepts for future human missions beyond low-Earth orbit.
  • Its main mission is to fly by and collect data from a near-Earth asteroid.
    • It will take about two years to cruise to the asteroid and will be about 93 million miles away from Earth during the asteroid encounter.
  • It will also be America’s first interplanetary mission using special solar sail propulsion.
    • So far, spacecraft have been using solar energy to power them and execute critical functions.
    • This will be the first time that a spacecraft uses it as wind to generate thrust and move forward.
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