TECH

Japan Test-Fires Space Cannon Designed To Shoot Asteroid

25/10/2013 10:09 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 23:58 GMT

Japan has successfully tested a space cannon designed to shoot an asteroid.

The Hayabusa2 will launch in 2014, with the aim of firing a metal bullet into the asteroid 1999 JU3 to create a crater for gathering samples.

Ahead of the launch Japan has apparently tested the cannon here on Earth - and the test has been called a complete success.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) told AFP that the mission "is progressing as planned", and is still on track to arrive at the asteroid in 2018 on schedule.

When it arrives the cannon which actually detach from the mothership, where it will travel to the other side of the asteroid before detonating itself. Once clear of the blast, the mothership will

Unfortunately, while the idea sounds promising to anyone pondering ways humanity might survive its next bombardment by rocks from space, the cannon is nowhere near large enough to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

Luckily we're pretty sure that no world-ending asteroids will hit us until at least 2032. So that's something.