Social Question

filmfann's avatar

DART! What can go wrong?

Asked by filmfann (50746points) 2 months ago

We are slamming a satellite into an asteroid to test our ability to deflect it.
What could go wrong?

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13 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I was just thinking of this question.

If I understand correctly, this is a trial on an asteroid that isn’t actually threatening to hit Earth. Do others understand that to be the case as well?

So, from my perspective, a piece of the debris could then have an altered course that could actually threaten Earth. That would be a bummer.

That’s my biggest fear of this attempt to pulverize an asteroid.

ragingloli's avatar

The target asteroid could turn out to be an alien probe, and the collision with it interpreted by the aliens as an act of war, sparking the complete annihilation of the human race by an alien invasion fleet.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@ragingloli Since you’re our resident extraterrestrial alien, would you be so kind as to warn us about this asteroid/probe?

elbanditoroso's avatar

There’s an ethical question too. What right do we earthlings have to slam into an asteroid?

rebbel's avatar

“Slamming” is rather subjective.
We’ve also “slammed” into the Moon, Mars, Venus, and that other asteroid or meteorite some years ago.

kritiper's avatar

The asteroid is 7 million miles away, and twice the size of the Empire State Building.
It is a test to see if it’s velocity can be changed even slightly.Very little effect will come of the impact.
A Earth threatening asteroid (that hasn’t been detected or may never be detected) that COULD be slowed or speeded up a pinch might be forced to change course enough to miss us.
If the smaller of the two asteroids is slowed a bit, it will enter a tighter/shallower/closer orbit with it’s larger host asteroid. And that is what the scientists are hoping to detect.
They are not trying to pulverize or destroy the asteroid. It is too large.

filmfann's avatar

What if the asteroid is actually a prison holding a superbeing, and the satellite breaks it in two, freeing him?

canidmajor's avatar

^^^Damn that Zod anyway!!!

Smashley's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 there is no zod. Or god. Sorry.

The worst that could happen is the mission could fail completely, giving us no data about how to change the trajectory of a very large NEO, and humanity would be less equipped to deal with the life ending asteroid that, somewhere in the dark, is hurtling towards us as we speak.

Forever_Free's avatar

Poor little asteroid!

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
canidmajor's avatar

It worked:
” NASA took aim at an asteroid last month, and on Tuesday, the space agency announced that its planned 14,000 mile-per-hour collision with an object named Dimorphos made even more of a bull’s-eye shot than expected.”
From the NYT

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