NASA is planning to use a boulder from an asteroid as a test for Earth’s defense systems. The boulder will serve as a propeller to creating something that can hopefully prevent something significantly worse from happening here on Earth. NASA has apparently put a plan together that is so intense, in fact, that it will involve picking a large boulder up from an asteroid – and carrying it directly to the moon. At which point the boulder will begin orbiting the moon.
The benefits will apparently be positive in that it will give scientists and astronomers the ability to observe the behavior of the boulder and see what type of rotational pattern it works into. It’s being billed under NASA’s Asteroid Redirection Mission, and won’t be taking place for another ten years, according to reports.
In explaining the program, NASA says, “Although Hollywood has created some colorful methods for stopping an object that is on a collision path with Earth, no government agency, national or international, has been tasked or accepted the responsibility to stop such an asteroid, should one be discovered.” That likely is a fair analysis of something that really could have profound impacts on the overall state of Earth.
Right now there is a lot of testing that needs to take place, and it’s a mission that scientists say won’t be ready for many years – at this point. However, once scientists acquire the boulder – it will then take another 6 years just to get the boulder to its destination at the moon. That being said the mission will be taking place with a robotic craft doing most of the work. That is largely due to the fact that humans have not be readied for this type of mission and it could literally take decades to create a readied crew for this type of mission.
Ultimately, this is a very important moment in time for NASA and their space program as a whole. It might seem like something that only belongs in a movie, but protecting Earth against threats like this – are ultimately things that have to be weighed and dealt with heading into the future. Especially given the fact that there is so much uncertainty within the space conversation – regarding what could happen to Earth in the long term.