NASA Plays “Armageddon” And It’s So Cool

NASA Plays “Armageddon” And It’s So Cool

NASA Plays “Armageddon” And It’s So Cool

It was like something out of the movie “Armageddon” but without the death, destruction or Bruce Willis. Last night, NASA, in the name of Planetary Defense, aimed a spacecraft at the moon of an asteroid and changed the asteroid’s orbit. The mission was called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART. It was right out of science fiction, but it was real and it was so cool.

Maybe Veep Kamala Harris, chair of the National Space Council, has been very busy after all. Just kidding. Harris had nothing to do with the galactically awesome space event last night. A huge team of real SCIENTISTS used real SCIENCE to send a spacecraft 6.6 million miles from Earth to fly past the asteroid Didymos at 14,000 miles per hour and impact the asteroid moon Dimorphos and alter its course. Read that sentence again and Praise the Good Lord that there are people out there that can do math and science at this level. Can you believe it? No oil drillers were harmed in the making of this successful science experiment.

I watched the last hour of the feed from NASA before the impact and those real scientists were cheering every milestone. It was incredible to watch people who worked for years on something realize their goals. I am gonna be honest here. As the DART mission got close to Dimorphos it made me think of Mystery Science Theater 3000. If you never saw the program, I am sorry for you. The closer the DART mission got the cooler it was until you could see actual rocks.

These scientists were so good that the collision of DART with Dimorphos looked like the NASA plan.


Again, I am gobsmacked at the accuracy and pure genius of these scientists.

Score One for Planetary Defense, and aren’t you glad that Congress is finally focusing on those asteroids. From the New York Times:

For many years, policymakers lacked urgency to finance efforts to protect the planet from asteroids. But that began to shift in part because astronomers have been able to find all of the big asteroids that would wreak planet-wide destruction, like the one that doomed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, said Thomas Statler, the program scientist on the DART mission.

Impacts of a global scale occur very rarely, once every 10 million years or so. But now that that possibility has been ruled out, planners at NASA and elsewhere are thinking about the numerous smaller objects in space. Those are far more numerous, and, although they would not set off mass extinctions, they can unleash more energy than a nuclear bomb.

“The conversation has matured in a really appropriate way,” Dr. Statler said.

Mature conversations are always welcome. And, how precise were all those calculations:

The celestial choreography is more complex, too, than the LCROSS and Deep Impact measurements. Dimorphos is in orbit around a larger, half-mile-wide asteroid named Didymos, with a distance of about 0.6 miles separating the two. Dimorphos completes one orbit around Didymos every 11 hours and 55 minutes.

“It is really hard to hit a very little object in space, and we’re going to do it,” said Elena Adams, the DART mission systems engineer. DART’s camera will not spot Dimorphos as a separate dot from Didymos until about an hour before the crash.

DART will essentially be a self-driving suicidal spacecraft, guiding itself to its demise, with people at the mission operations center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland largely just spectators.

“You’re moving extremely fast,” Dr. Adams said. “And at that point, you cannot really send any commands. And so your system has to be very, very precise in how it’s controlling the spacecraft.”

Very, very precise. Here is the last exciting minute before impact:

In the name of Planetary Defense! The press conference after the impact was pretty great too. APL stands for the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University.

Through the APL, you can sign up to be a Planetary Defender. I am buying a telescope tonight.

What an amazing group of real SCIENTISTS. What an amazing time to be alive. What an amazing demonstration of American Exceptionalism. In Planetary Defense, we are number one.

That’s a relief.

Featured Image: Twitter Screengrab/NASA/cropped/Public Domain

Written by

  • GWB says:

    once every 10 million years or so. But now that that possibility has been ruled out
    Those two things are NOT the same. And does not give me confidence the people in charge actually know what they think they know.

    It is a pretty huge achievement.
    Now go harvest one of these. Then I’ll be impressed.

  • Joe R. says:

    So. . . 3,900 orbits from now Dimorphus ‘bumps’ Didymos onto a collision orbit with earth, and the evil satanic-communist (D) make NASA shoot down anything going to stop it, unless we let them rape kids and do abortions.

    Might sound crazy, but so did Grandma saying that Elvis would get you Madonna, who’ll get you Marilyn Manson.

  • Cameron says:

    But you’re missing the important part: Did any of the scientists have a shirt with semi naked women on it?

  • Deborah B says:

    I LOVED it! Mission control was in the US but involved the planning of scientists around the world. Awesome what science and international cooperation can do when properly planned and executed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become a Victory Girl!

Are you interested in writing for Victory Girls? If you’d like to blog about politics and current events from a conservative POV, send us a writing sample here.
Ava Gardner