In this second program of two about the threat from asteroids, we hear about how the dishwasher-sized vessel DART after 10 months of travel through space will hopefully push one of the bumblebees in a so-called double asteroid called Didymos, so that it changes its trajectory slightly. The whole thing will be photographed and measured at the actual crash from Earth and by a small satellite that the spacecraft carries with it, and later by another space probe, Hera.
We hear about challenges with the project, about how well mapped the threat from space rocks is, and about what devastation even minor meteorite impacts can cause. Fortunately, larger asteroids rarely collide with Earth, and if they do fall, they rarely hit densely populated areas. But it can still be good for us on earth to have a kind of life insurance in the form of an asteroid protection, the researchers say.
Cast: Andy Cheng, research leader DART project, NASA; Amy Mainzer, professor of the University of Arizona, focusing on planetary defense and on objects close to Earth; Ian Carnelli, researcher at ESA, and Mikael Granvik, associate professor of space technology at Luleå University of Technology and the University of Helsinki.
Reporter: Julia Videgård
Producer: Björn Gunér
Source: ICELAND NEWS