Can NASA Save Us From A Potential Asteroid Impact?
Sure, it's been a long winter in Michigan. Cold temperatures, icy roads and so many snow days that kids actually want to go to school. You know what would make it even worse? A half-mile wide asteroid coming down in your backyard.
I mean - it would melt the ice, but....
The good news is that NASA doesn't want that to happen either, so they're working on one way to prevent it. According to BigThink.com, NASA is working with the European Space Agency to launch what will be the "first-ever test of an Earth defense systems with missions aimed at knocking an asteroid off course".
The mission, called DART (Double Asteroid Redirect Test) will launch in the next two years. the DART spacecraft will head for an asteroid named "Didymos" - a half mile wide asteroid orbited by a smaller moon named "Didymoon". These two will never get closer than 7 million miles from Earth, but they make good test subjects. When DART arrives, it will crash into Didymoon - which should throw the trajectory of both asteroids off just enough to prove this would work in the event of one of these things coming right at us. A few years later, the European Space Agency's HERA spacecraft will arrive to check the damage and calculate the new trajectory.
And - FYI - as proof of Newton's Laws of Motion, the DART spacecraft will weigh about 1100 pounds. Didymoon weighs about 6 million tons. But that push should be just enough to change it's direction.
Hope this works. Here's the story.