There are just a few weeks for one big crash: We’re talking about what would see a spaceship as a hero, ready to sacrifice himself by intercepting the orbit of a large asteroid. But do not worry, everything is under control. It’s actually a an experience Organised down to the smallest detail by NASA, the lens definitely has a sci-fi flavor.
Not even a year ago, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence It brought to the big screen the latest film in a long series dedicated to the massive asteroids and comets colliding with Earth. do not search It has ignited in all of us the age-old fear of a threat from space that could completely wipe out humanity. What would happen if future astronomers determined A being ready to collide with our planet? To answer this question, NASA developed a very special experiment.
In a few weeks, DART . robotic spaceship At a cost of $330 million, it will intentionally collide with an asteroid. Probe, made for Double Asteroid Redirect Test Project (DART, in fact), he’s been traveling in space for months now, and his target was a celestial body already known by astronomers, called Dimorphos. According to experts, the crash should happen In the early hours of September 27, 2022at a speed of about 4 miles per second (or more than 6000 meters per second).
By doing so, scientists intend to find out if this is possible deviate the path of an asteroid: If in the future we discover one that is ready to collide with Earth, We will have another resource to avoid that. Everything is designed with maximum attention, starting with the objective chosen for the task. Demorphos is actually an asteroid – a satellite about 160 meters long that orbits a much larger asteroid, Didymus. Then CollideNASA will be able to more easily analyze the deflection of a celestial body, based on its path around the main asteroid.
Danger of hitting an asteroid
as expected, The goal of the new NASA project is to see if you can convert a file asteroid (or any other celestial body) on a collision course with the Earth. “We know that asteroids hit us in the past. These impacts are a natural process and will happen again in the future” – explained the professor. Alan Fitzsimmonsan astronomer at Queen’s University Belfast – “We want to stop the most dangerous of them. The problem is that we’ve never tested the technology to do that. That’s what DART is all about.”
In fact, in the history of our planet, there have been some accidents that have happened to catastrophic effect. Like those that occurred 66 million years ago: A huge asteroid 10 km wide hit Chicxulub, in Mexico, resulting in an explosion equivalent to several billion atomic bombs. According to the calculations of experts, this could have been the reason for the extinction of the dinosaurs, along with Destroy most life forms existed on Earth at that time. Today, of course, an asteroid of this size would not go unnoticed We will be prepared for any possible accident Very well in advance.
“We know where the large asteroids are, and we know that none of those discovered will come close to our planet for 200 years or so,” Fitzsimmons said. but, There are much smaller celestial bodies Which has not yet been determined, and which could hit Earth in the future. Some, although small, can cause massive damage and destroy entire cities – which is why the NASA experiment is so important. “DART is the first step in making sure we have the right technology for it face the threat“.
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