NASA has set the date for their Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) Scout to this November, when it will launch along with the Artemis I test flight mission. The NEA Scout is a small craft with solar-powered sails, the first of its kind to be released outside of Earth’s orbit. If the mission goes well, it’s a good sign for an expected 2025 mission named Solar Cruiser, with a much larger solar sail. The NEA Scout is outfitted with a high-powered camera and its pictures are expected to provide valuable information about a certain class of asteroids. But it will take two years for the NEA Scout to reach its destination, even though it’s only a small asteroid near Earth.
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