NASA just found a way to save Earth from asteroids

NASA has just diverted an asteroid from its trajectory thanks to an explosive probe, DART. This mission is to save the Earth.

65 million years ago, dinosaurs ruled the Earth. But one day a huge meteorite crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. The impact was so violent that life instantly disappeared for miles around. The entire planet was found under a plume of smoke. This event will end the age of the dinosaurs. A disastrous fate that the human species is somehow trying to avoid.

In order not to suffer the same fate as our distant cousins ​​the dinosaurs, engineers have been working for years to save the Earth from a hypothetical killer meteor. During the last meetings of astrophysicists, who had worked on computer simulation, the Earth had been destroyed. But on a mission that left last year, NASA tried to put its knowledge to use.

DART: fly an asteroid with a probe

With DART, the US space agency wanted to deflect an asteroid by hurtling towards it. The probe arrived last night to impact Dimorphos, the smaller of two bodies of a pair of asteroids. The researchers now hope that the violence of the impact had an impact on the trajectory of the asteroids.

If the first data are encouraging, a European probe should pass closer to the asteroids within a few years to assess the consequences of such a mission. It will lift off from Earth next year.

DART: an unprecedented mission for NASA

A great first in human history, the DART mission should enable NASA to find solutions should an asteroid threaten Earth. In the case of Dimorphos, the pair of celestial bodies is more than 11 million kilometers from us, 30 times the Earth-Moon distance, so there was no risk. But in a more or less distant future, an asteroid could go straight to Earth, so we will have to react.

In 2013, a refrigerator-sized meteorite exploded just a few kilometers above the ground. The shock wave shattered windows for miles, toppled trees and injured thousands of people. in a russian village. If the risk is very low, there could be collisions for centuries to come, and the human species will have to find a way to fight these adversaries that come from the sky.

In November 2021, the Planetary Asteroid Defense Council assured that no major threat would reach Earth before 2100. For centuries to come, NASA and other organizations that monitor the skies cannot be sure of trajectories. They estimate that there will be between one and two deviations per century. The work done by DART therefore, it is crucial to sustaining life on Earth in the next millennium.

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