| September 27, 2022


Originally written Sunday: NASA is going to crash a satellite into a 175 yard asteroid at 14,000 miles an hour Monday in an attempt to change its orbit by a centimeter. The satellite, which weighs in at 360-570 kg depending on the source, is hopefully going to slow the asteroid by a centimeter a second. Hopefully by the time you read this, the experiment will have ended successfully almost 7,000,000 miles away..

While Dimorphos is about one-and-a-half times the size of a football field, this test is a dress rehearsal for the really “big one” that could potentially smash into Earth someday. So, DART’s goal is to collect as much data as possible during the test. Mission engineers hope to alter the speed of incoming objects by a centimeter per second. “That’s not very fast, but if you do it enough seconds in advance, you can cause it to miss the Earth entirely,” according to the mission overview by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory.

Yahoo News

If we have a planet-buster rock headed to us from Moon-orbit distances, we are hosed. Not enough time to react, not enough space to deflect big fragments from impact. But like when you are on the firing line and a tiny fraction of misalignment causes a bullet to miss the target? If we can push the rock a tiny bit from a very long distance, over millions of miles those tiny deflections can add up significantly. Just using the above – linear math says if that rock was headed our way, 7 million miles being 11.2 million kilometers, that one centimeter might make a (11,200,000 km x1000 meter/mile x .01 meter)  change , which might cause a certain hit to become a near miss. Admittedly, for a big target we need more than the anticipated refrigerator-sized DART to make a difference, but we have a surfeit of nukes, right?.

The mission demonstrates the high level of international collaboration that is needed for such an ambitious mission. Though the DART mission is managed by the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory , scientists and engineers from around the world have come together to contribute.

“We’ve worked really closely with our European colleagues and colleagues all over the world,” Ellen Howell, a senior research scientist at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and a co-investigator for DART, told Space.com. Though DART is a test, a similar level of international cooperation would be essential in the case of a real impact, she said.

Though the threat from asteroid impacts is small, it is a threat nonetheless, and something we should be prepared for. We only need to look at past impact events such as the massive Chicxulub asteroid impact that is credited with the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, to see the catastrophic effects an impact can have on life on Earth.


I have to admit, my first thought was I’m not impressed, right? But the geek in me started thinking a little (a rarity!) and realized we are talking about hitting a rock less than two football fields wide from seven MILLION miles away. We can’t sort out food, peace, or sanity, but we have figured out that.

Monday Update: I happened to be lucky enough to tune in and see this happen live. Awesome. I reflect sometimes on my grandmother, who lived from the Wild West to almost long enough to see the Soviet Union break up. I thought I would never see anything similar, but I have seen us go from never launching rockets into space, to being able to deflect asteroid-size rocks from 30 times as far away as the moon. Unfriggin’believable.

H/T to my brother, who over 60 years ago told me a science fiction book was “too old” for me. And started me on a lifetime of reading sci-fi. Happy Birthday, Jim!

Category: Science and Technology

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I miss the good ole days when we used to send roughnecks from offshore oil rigs to blow up asteroids.

Hack Stone

Stolen from the IMDB Trivia for Armageddon:

Regarding the film’s premise, Ben Affleck asked director Michael Bay, “Wouldn’t it be easier for NASA to train astronauts how to drill rather than training drillers to be astronauts?” Bay told Affleck to shut up. The reasoning behind sending drillers, rather than training astronauts, is explained in the movie.

Hack Stone

More trivia:

Bruce Willis was given a second trailer that housed a full working gym, at an estimated cost of $175,000. It was reportedly never used.

Much like that exercise equipment Rosetta Stone gave Hack Stone for Christmas.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

I’m thinking of Larry Niven’s “Lucifer’s Hammer”.
“Hot Fudge Sunday fell on a Tuesday”.


I think one of FJB’s farts would change the path of that asteroid! As the old Irish saying goes…” he’s like a fart in a gale of wind!!!”

Hack Stone

Through connections that Hack Stone has made while selling Red Hat Software to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Maryland, he was provided exclusive rights to distributing video of this mission in action. Enjoy.


There’s supposed to be an Earth shattering Ka-Boom!


If a stray rock hits this 3rd Rock from the Sun, there will be an Earth Shattering Ka-BOOM. Now that would make Marvin grin.

Now what if, imagine if you will, that space rock is actually a Romulan Stealth Bomber in Rock Cloak Mode and inteprets this as an attack on a mostly peaceful mission that is only going bodly where no other Romulan has gone before? Or the Lizard People coming back to pick up Zukerborg?


Ask Babs.


Remember that machine in the movie that gave Babs those O-gasms.


You also have noticed that Zucky’s black eyes resemble those of the aliens in “V.”


That’s gotta be the longest shot ever. I mean, I think I’m big stuff for hitting a target at 300 yards with iron sights.

What if they miss? Do they re-zero the rocket? Back to the shadow box and dime drills?