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asteroid belt

Hubble captures cosmic hit and run

There's no hiding from anything these days!

It’s got to be pretty cool being an asteroid. You are as ancient as the stars and custodian to their most intimate secrets. You are the guardian of rich treasures that can reveal secrets about the formation of the solar system and you cruise the vastness of space, bearing witness to wonders of a sort that we poor Earth-tethered humans can only dream of.

It’s got to suck then when, halfway through another of your magnificent interplanetary tours, and minding your own business you are suddenly smashed into by another asteroid (probably uninsured) that wasn’t paying attention to where it was going.

Nasa's Dawn probe trecks on

Life ain't easy for an asteroid hunter

It was cancelled in 2003, only to be un-cancelled the following year and then put on hold the following year. The year after that it came within a sneeze of becoming permanently shelved, but, with a month of that, the cancellation was put ‘under review’ before finally having its initial cancellation cancelled.

When it did make it to the launch pad in 2007, the Delta II rocket due to carry it in to space developed a fault and the launch was (yes, you guessed it) cancelled. Finally, it came within a spit of being damaged by a falling spanner after a careless worker (quite literally) dropped one into the works.

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