Scientists plan to smash a spacecraft into an asteroid so that they are prepared for having to stop one hurtling towards Earth.
The news came as Nasa moved to calm fears that a comet is on a collision course with our planet.
The plans for a test mission to stop an asteroid from colliding with Earth come from Nasa’s cousin, the European Space Agency.
In the Hollywood movie Armageddon, Bruce Willis attempts to blow up a huge asteroid hurtling towards Earth.
In real life, the mission, called Don Quixote, will see two spacecraft launched.
Armageddon starred Bruce Willis as the leader of a team of astronauts who destroy an asteroid that threatens to wipe out Earth.
One will be fired at an asteroid at break-neck speed in an attempt to push it off its course. The other will analyse data with the aim of informing future missions in which the future of mankind may be at stake.
One potential target for the test mission is a 1,600ft-wide asteroid called 99942 Apophis, which has a tiny chance – around one in 250,000 – of hitting Earth in 2036.
Nasa scientists yesterday took the unusual step of officially dismissing claims sweeping the internet that comet Elenin, discovered by an astronomer last December, is on a deadly course.
Scare stories include the comet plunging the Earth into darkness for three days by blocking out the sun, colliding with Earth, moving tides or continents and throwing the planet off orbit.
It is even claimed that a fleet of UFOs are streaking towards us in the comet’s wake, and that Nasa has conspired with media organisations to create a news blackout on the comet to avoid mass panic sweeping the world.
But the space agency said Elenin will never come closer to Earth than 22million miles and will not compromise our planet in any way.
An official said: ‘The truth is that Elenin has received much more attention than it deserves due to a variety of internet postings that are untrue.’
Don Quijote is a proposed space probe under development by the European Space Agency, which would study the effects of crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid. The mission is intended to test whether a spacecraft could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. The orbiter is being designed to last for seven years.
The mission is still in the planning stages with launch dates proposed for 2013 or 2015.
The mission will consist of two spacecraft that will execute a series of maneuvers around a small, 500-metre (1,600-foot) asteroid.
The first spacecraft, Sancho, will arrive at the asteroid and orbit it for several months, studying it. The orbiter will use a single xenon ion engine.
After a few months, the second spacecraft, Hidalgo, will hurtle toward the asteroid on a collision course. Sancho will retreat to a safe distance while Hidalgo will hit the asteroid at around 10 km/s. The Lander will sleep for most of the trip and then steer itself using optical sensors with an accuracy of 50 meters.
Sancho will then return to its close orbit and see how much the asteroid’s shape, internal structure, orbit and rotation have been affected by the impact.
Sancho will release the Autonomous Surface Package, which will free-fall toward the asteroid for 2 hours before landing. This package will be directed towards the interior of the impact crater where it will investigate properties of the surface.
The mission is named after the fictional Spanish knight from Miguel de Cervantes renowned novel, Don Quixote, who charged against a windmill, thinking it to be a giant. Like the Don, the Hidalgo spacecraft will ’attack’ an object much larger than itself, hopefully with more impressive results. ’Sancho’ is named after Sancho Panza, the Don’s squire, who preferred to stay back and watch from a safe distance, which is the role assigned to that probe. Source
NASA’s EPOXI mission spacecraft successfully flew past comet Hartley 2 on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010. EPOXI is an extended mission that uses the already
in-flight Deep Impact spacecraft. Includes: EPOXI reaction to closest approach; five approach images; mission animation and interviews.
The NASA spacecraft ’Stardust’ has started beaming back the first pictures of a comet that swept past it. The encounter will give scientists unique information on how these great balls of ice and dust change over time. The craft, hoped the more than 70 high-resolution images, would reveal the extent of the impact crater and surroundings.
It’s the first time a comet has been viewed by two different spacecraft.
Dzhokhar’s boat ‘confession’ the most unbelievable part yet of Boston psyop 2013 05 21 Remember the notes that accompanied the anthrax deliveries right after 9/11? They said things like, “Allah is great!” “Death to Israel,” “Death to America!” and “9-11-01: This is next.”
In other words, THE MUSLIMS DID IT: the same ones who had so handily defeated the world’s greatest military machine on Sept. 11, 2001. And they did it because they hate us ...
The Mystery of the ’Immaculately Conceived’ Baby Anteater 2013 05 21 [...]Staffers at a zoological conservation center in Greenwich, Conn., are very confused — as are the rest of us — because their female giant anteater, Armani, has managed to conceive a baby, apparently without the presence of a male anteater.
It all started in August, writes Lisa Chamoff for Greenwich Time. Armani, an anteater at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center, ...
The US Government Might Be the Biggest Hacker in the World 2013 05 21 Cyber crime is big business in the US. It’s used to spy, steal, harass competition, political opponents, or to stage an attack and blamed it on a foreign enemy.
Is the government in on this crime industry? Yes, and in bigger ways than you can imagine…
This trend is enabled domestically by an institutionally corrupt US legal system and a police state ...
2nd Day of Riots in Stockholm Suburb Shakes Sweden 2013 05 21
Some 200 youths hurled rocks at police and set cars ablaze in a largely immigrant suburb of Stockholm on Tuesday, the second day of rioting triggered by the fatal police shooting of a man wielding a knife.
Dozens of windows were smashed, 10 cars and several containers were set on fire, and seven police officers were injured. Cars and containers ...
Mystery of Moon’s Magnetic Field Deepens 2013 05 21
The moon generated a surprisingly intense magnetic field until at least 3.56 billion years ago, 160 million years longer than previously thought, a new study reports.
These findings could shed light not just on the magnetic field of the moon, which is now extremely weak, but on that of asteroids and other distant worlds, investigators added.
Earth’s magnetic field is created by ...