NASA’s first planetary defense test defied expectations when the space agency deliberately struck an asteroid with a spacecraft in order to alter its trajectory.
NASA announced on Tuesday that the historical Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), outperformed their goal of disrupting the celestial object’s orbit by over 25 times more than the mission’s minimum measure of success.
Mankind’s first full-scale demonstration of asteroid deflection technology occurred on Sept. 26, when DART collided with Dimorphos, an asteroid that was not a threat to the safety of Earth’s population, at roughly 14,000 miles-per-hour and knocked the space rock out of orbit.
“This mission shows that NASA is trying to be ready for whatever the universe throws at us. NASA has proven we are serious as a defender of the planet,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson remarked in the mission’s press release. . “This is a watershed moment for planetary defense and all of humanity, demonstrating commitment from NASA’s exceptional team and partners from around the world.”
Despite the success of the mission, President Joe Biden warned that the world has not “faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” at a Democratic fundraiser last week.
He said that Russian president Vladimir Putin is “not joking” when he threatens to use weapons of mass destruction in the conflict against Ukraine, due to his “under-performing” military.
“I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily [use] a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon,” he added.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told “Fox News Sunday” that Biden’s stark message was “a terrible risk to the American people,” because the Russian military is “failing desperately” to succeed in Ukraine. “Those comments were reckless,” he concluded.
French President Emmanuel Macron also criticized Biden for stoking fears with his dire warning.
“We must speak with prudence when commenting on such matters,” he explained to reporters last week. “I have always refused to engage in political fiction, and especially … when speaking of nuclear weapons,” he added. “On this issue, we must be very careful.”
“All of us have a responsibility to protect our home planet. After all, it’s the only one we have,” NASA’s Bill Nelson sagely remarked after the doomsday thwarting space mission.
Meanwhile, Tom Cruise will need to be “very careful” when he becomes the first civilian to perform a space walk , when he blasts off into the final frontier to film his upcoming action flick at the International Space Station.
“Tom Cruise is taking us to space. He’s taking the world to space. That’s the plan,” Universal Pictures boss Donna Langley told the BBC.
“We have a great project in development with Tom, that does contemplate him doing just that,” she added. “Taking a rocket up to the space station and shooting and hopefully being the first civilian to do a spacewalk outside of the space station.”