Asteroid Impact Wiped Out The Dinosaurs, SpaceX & NASA Planetary Defense Technologies Could Prevent Another Mass Extinction Level Event

by Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo November 27, 2021

Asteroid Impact Wiped Out The Dinosaurs, SpaceX & NASA Planetary Defense Technologies Could Prevent Another Mass Extinction Level Event

Featured Image Source: Renders Created By @ErcXspace via Twitter

Approximately 66 million years ago a city-sized asteroid smashed into the Gulf of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, killing around 75 percent of all life on Earth; including dinosaurs and other stunning creatures that roamed the Earth during the Jurassic period. Thousands of species and plants got wiped out with no means of self defense against an asteroid that produced a massive explosion more powerful than 10 billion atomic bombs. Today, humans have the opportunity to develop the technologies that could help prevent another mass extinction event from happening.

This is why space exploration and the development of advanced rocket-ship technologies is crucial for humanity’s long-term survival. SpaceX and NASA are working on innovative technology to make planetary defense possible. SpaceX recently launched the first interplanetary mission for NASA, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) that aims to test technologies to protect Earth against a potential asteroid impact in the future. On November 24, a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, launching the DART spacecraft on a 10-month-long journey towards the binary asteroid system Didymos/Dimorphos, located over 11 million kilometers away from Earth. The DART spacecraft is designed to intentionally smash into the Dimorphos asteroid to change its orbital speed. This test will help NASA scientists evaluate whether smashing a spacecraft into an asteroid can be an effective way to change its course enough to avoid a catastrophe. Read more in the previous TESMANIAN article, linked below. 

“This will be really important one day. Much is made of meteor impacts that destroyed most life on Earth, but there were far more that “merely” destroyed a continent,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said via Twitter, “Comets (not asteroids) are the real wild card, as we’re only able to track ~4600 out of  ~1 trillion.”

“Earth has been and will be smashed super hard by meteors over time. Not a question of if, just when,” he stated. Musk has said on multiple occasions that this is a reason why he founded SpaceX, to ‘preserve the light of consciousness’. The company develops technologies that could one day help prevent an asteroid strike and transport hundreds of humans to migrate to Mars in order to preserve the human species. SpaceX’s ultimate goal is to enable humans to create the first sustainable settlement on the Red Planet.

SpaceX is developing its next-generation spacecraft – Starship – that could enable NASA (and other global organizations) to launch much larger asteroid-smashing spacecraft in order to change its trajectory. The Starship itself could potentially be used to directly impact the asteroid/meteor with some modifications. Starship is set to become the largest operational heavy-lift spacecraft with the capacity to liftoff 100 tons to orbit. It will be able to carry heavy scientific instruments to monitor asteroid/meteor activity and also deploy larger payload, unlike Falcon 9 that is only capable of carrying around 25.1 tons to Low Earth Orbit. SpaceX officials said Starship could even be modified to ‘chomp-up’ space debris like ‘Pacman’ with its moving fairing door, that capability could even be useful for future planetary defense missions.

The Starship spacecraft is actively under development at the Starbase facility in South Texas, it is expected to become operational before the year 2024. NASA awarded SpaceX a Artemis contract to develop a lunar-optimized Starship Human Landing System (HLS) to land astronauts on the Moon by 2025. 

Featured Image Source: Renders Created By @ErcXspace via Twitter








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