Plan by NASA to Deliberately Crash a $330 Million Spaceship Onto an Asteroid

NASA has made public its intention to deliberately crash a $330 million (AUD $485 million or £285 million) spacecraft into an asteroid to test its resilience.

Crashing Is the New Science

The world’s first full-scale test to see whether the spacecraft can protect the Earth from a dangerous asteroid or comet will take place in a few weeks with NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART.

Yes, this does sound like a scene from the Hollywood science fiction movie Don’t Look Up.

The likes of Leo Dicaprio or J-Law aren’t here to try to help us this time, though. Instead, NASA will examine the effects of the 525-foot-wide asteroid known as “Dimorphos” on DART using one of the most potent telescopes.

Although the asteroid won’t be hitting Earth anytime soon (hopefully), experts believe that it would inflict serious harm if it did.

“We don’t want to be in a scenario where an asteroid is heading toward Earth and then have to be testing this kind of technology,” NASA’s planetary defence officer Lindley Johnson reportedly remarked to USA TODAY.

Before we ever find ourselves in a position like that, he continued, “We want to know about both how the spacecraft operates and what the asteroid’s reaction to the hit will be.”

In a statement, co-leader of the July observation campaign and astronomer at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, Nick Moskovitz said that this is the ideal time to carry out the test to save the worst from happening.

Before doing anything to the asteroid system, he stated, “the before-and-after aspect of this experiment demands exquisite knowledge of the asteroid system.”

We want to be certain that any change we observe is totally attributable to what DART did rather than saying, “Oh, here’s something we hadn’t thought about or phenomenon we hadn’t considered,” at the last minute.

Additionally, according to USA TODAY, DART is not meant to completely destroy “Dimorphos” but rather to give it a small “nudge” that could change its orbit around Didymos by around 1%.

Although it might seem insignificant, the outcomes, according to DART’s main coordinator Nancy Chabot, could save humanity.

The asteroid and Earth would no longer be on a collision trajectory, she explained, if you gave it a modest push that added up to a significant alteration in its future position.

Do you think it’s crazy or rocket science?



, ,