U.S. officers have lengthy invoked Bruce Willis’ title within the pursuits of planetary safety.
At a 2013 Senate listening to with specialists to debate the menace that asteroids pose to Earth, famous humorist Ted Cruz quipped, “I was disappointed that Bruce Willis was not available to be a fifth witness on the panel.”
This week, as NASA launches its first check mission to redirect a non-threatening asteroid, the division’s administrator Bill Nelson mentioned the company invited Willis to the launch, however Nelson mentioned the star received’t be there. Given Willis’ memorable flip in Armageddon, nevertheless, Nelson mentioned “we didn’t want to miss that connection.” If Willis is in Southern California tonight, he could catch the launch anyway.
Los Angeles-area residents might get a powerful mild present within the night time sky tonight when Elon Musk’s SpaceX makes an attempt to launch the “planetary-defense mission” from the recently-renamed Vandenberg Space Force Base close to Lompoc, north of Santa Barbara.
Depending on visibility, night-time rocket launches from Vandenberg can create dazzling spectacles seen throughout a lot of Southern California. The ensuing unusual cloud patterns and unfamiliar lights typically go away curious Angelenos taking to social media with questions and jokes about, nicely, Armageddon.
One 2017 launch was a living proof:
I THINK WE JUST SAW A UFO IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PLS EXPLAIN pic.twitter.com/TVsUJjmpR9
— hib (@hibabadook) December 23, 2017
Tonight’s check is scheduled to at 10:21 p.m. PT. Light shows from Vandenberg-originating rockets normally seem over Los Angeles very shortly after liftoff.
The occasion is the literal launch of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, mission, “the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test, demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection technology.” It’s been years within the making.
The spacecraft loaded onto the Musk-made rocket is, in response to NASA, “designed to impact an asteroid as a test of technology to see if it can change the motion of an asteroid in space. The goal of the mission is to see if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course, should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future. DART’s target is the binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos and its moonlet, which pose no threat to Earth.”
While the idea of a planetary collision with area particles does sound like one thing out of a Hollywood blockbuster, it’s not that far fetched. The Chicxulub crater beneath the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico is considered the results of such a collision, the consequences of which worldwide are broadly accepted as the reason for the mass extinction of the dinosaurs (and 75% of life on Earth) eons in the past.
More just lately in February 2013, a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia “creating an airburst and shockwave that struck six cities across that country,” in response to NASA. The Chelyabinsk object was “just about 60 feet wide,” in response to the company, “demonstrating that even small asteroids can be of concern — and making real-world tests of space-based planetary defense systems all the more important.”
The 2013 testimony within the Senate was scheduled shortly after the Chelyabinsk affect. (For the file, Armageddon got here out in 1998.)
NASA estimates there are literally thousands of asteroids 500-feet vast or extra close to Earth. That’s sufficiently big to trigger what the company describes as “regional devastation” if they really make affect.
You can watch tonight’s launch under.