Feb 25, 2013
A meteor blast over Russia is putting new focus on a transatlantic effort to crash a spacecraft into a far-flung asteroid in a bid to prove that incoming objects from space can be knocked from their path.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory are preparing a decade-long, $350 million project to propel a rocket into the asteroid Didymos as it passes close to Earth. If successful, it would be the first time an asteroid is knocked off course by human intervention.
“There is a science aspect to it and a planetary defense aspect to it,” Andy Cheng, the chief scientist of the physics laboratory in Laurel, said in an interview.
Cheng said he developed a plan for a lower-cost test for smacking an asteroid as a way to revive a shelved European effort. In a sign of the steep odds it faced, the initial European plan was called Don Quijote, named after the fictional Spanish knight who tussled with windmills he thought to be giants.
This article was posted: Monday, February 25, 2013 at 5:54 am