A Maine Engineer is Helping Save Earth From Being Hit By the Asteroid Dimorphos
This literally sounds like the main plot of the 1998 movie Armageddon.
In one of the greatest movies of the 20th century, Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler and more starred in the movie Armageddon, which saw Earth being threatened by an incoming Asteroid that would've seen the end of the planet should a collision happen. Bruce and Ben's characters were part of a team sent into outer space to plant bombs on the massive space rock to save all of humanity.
And while that reeks of a pure Hollywood movie plot, very early this morning, a Maine engineer was actually part of a team that launched a that launched a mission known as DART to re-direct an incoming Asteroid known as the Asteroid Dimorphos, which is currently on a path to directly collide with Earth.
The DART mission is more of an offensive strategy as opposed to a defensive one.
According to Mark Jensenius, the Mainer on the mission who discussed this morning's launch with Channel 8 WMTW, the DART (which stands for double asteroid redirection test) mission is more a proactive measure to get out in front of asteroids that are showing a direct path toward Earth and redirect their travel path to minimize the threat of a possible future collision.
How does the DART mission work?
Mark told WMTW that DART actually impacts an asteroid's path by first using its imager and sensors to obtain information to command the spacecraft to maneuver as needed to then forge ahead and collide with the asteroid to redirect its path, all without any human intervention.
As it stands right now, according to WMTW through Mark's explanation, DART should reach the Asteroid Dimorphos in about 10 months while traveling at 15,000 mph, estimate an arrival sometime in September. The DART mission is actually available to be tracked as well on NASA's official website.
Just a Mainer out here doing amazing, intergalactic, Earth-saving things.