It’s been over 65 million years or so since Earth’s most prevalent life form was wiped off the planet by a massive asteroid strike.
So, while it’s impossible to predict the nature and frequency of one of those cataclysmic events, even a cursory analysis would indicate that we’re probably due for another one.
This time, instead of our planet being populated by lumbering, semi-sentient reptile birds, it has us, and our ability to scan the sky, and our sweet, sweet nuclear arsenal we could fire into the heavens.
But if push came to shove, could we actually blast one of those fuckers outta the sky? We’re about to find out. In a joint project between NASA and the ESA, humans will smash a probe at 13,000 miles per hour into a 500-foot wide asteroid and see what happens.
Will we deflect it? Will humans be able to protect ourselves from an angry space God flinging rocks at our planet? Via USA Today:
The joint U.S.-European AIDA — that’s Asteroid Deflection and Assessment — mission intends to crash a probe into a 525-foot-wide asteroid known as Didymoon to see if the impact will change its orbital path.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) probe will crash into Didymoon at a speed of roughly 13,420 mph, while ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) will study the effects so researchers can determine whether Didymoon’s orbit was indeed altered, reports ITV News.
The probes will launch in 2020, and are expected to rendevous with the asteroid two years later. The crash test will take place about 6.8 million miles from the Earth.
Hey, what if we fuck it up and accidentally send it hurtling toward us? How ironic would that be?