Once in a while, we hear a story in the news about an asteroid that’s going to fly close to the Earth. It’s always no threat to the planet, but with all the objects flying around in space, something is bound to find its way onto a collision course with Earth at some point.
Since we don’t want a scenario like that in the films Deep Impact and Armageddon, NASA has been working on technology that will allow it to neutralize the threat without sending Bruce Willis or Robert Duvall into space.
NASA is conducting a test of its planetary defense system on Sept. 26. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will send a spacecraft to the asteroid Dimorphos, which poses no threat to Earth, to prove that its system can work to destroy an asteroid that could threaten the planet.
“This test will show a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it to change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be measured using ground-based telescopes,” reads NASA’s press release. “DART will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered.”
This makes the little space cadet in me so excited. I’ve been a fan of the space program most of my life since I met Apollo 15 astronaut Jim Irwin, who was a friend of my grandfather, when I was a child. I can’t wait for the Artemis I mission to launch later this month, and the DART program is the icing on the cake. I mean, who doesn’t want to see a big rock get blown to smithereens?
I’ve applied for press credentials for this event, so hopefully I’ll be PJ Media’s (virtual) representative covering this historic event.
Let’s bust up an asteroid, America!