Stop Press: Sci -fi movie comes true again (sort of)?
Image from Physics.org
Remember the movie "Aramdgeddon"? Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi and Bruce Willis (amongst others) fly out to an asteroid the size of Texas bound for Earth, with the aim to split it in two with nuclear devices so the two halves miss the earth?
Well, the Planetary Defence Team at NASA (yes there is one) is about to do something similar - without the special effects (or high cost of Hollywood stars).
Instead of trying to break an astroid up (which has the risk of lots of smaller asteroids hitting instead of one big one) NASA are taking the approach of nudging the asteroids orbit - just a tiny bit -and doing it early so that the asteroid would just sail right past.
How - well, Newtonion physics strikes again. NASA will just crash the DART spacecraft into its test asteroid at 24,000 km/h and see what happens. If it changes the orbit of the asteroid, we can put away the nukes and that ol' school physies wins once again.
And another Sci-fi movie gets checked off as reality (sort of).