In Pictures: NASA’s coolest 'way-out' future proje...
The comet hitchhiker concept is literally to hitch rides on comets to tour around the Solar System. This concept is implemented by a tethered spacecraft that accelerates or decelerates itself without fuel by harvesting kinetic energy from a target. First, the spacecraft harpoons a target as it makes a close flyby in order to attach a tether to the target. Then, as the target moves away, it reels out the tether while applying regenerative brake to give itself a moderate acceleration as well as to harvest energy. Our concept enables to design a fast trajectory to a wide range of destinations in the Solar System by taking full advantage of the high relative velocity, abundance, and orbital diversity of small bodies.
In Pictures: NASA’s coolest 'way-out' future projects