The ability to stop asteroids from hitting the earth tops Luke O’Neill’s list of scientific innovations in 2022.
For centuries, scientists have lost sleepless nights because of fear that an asteroid might slam into our planet and destroy all human life.
It is not an outlandish possibility; it was an asteroid that killed the dinosaurs and countless films and books have pondered what might happen if it were to happen again.
With that in mind, NASA set up the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) which it dubbed the “world’s first planetary defense technology demonstration”.
The result was everything they hoped for.
“The dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago because of an asteroid,” Luke O’Neill told The Pat Kenny Show.
“And they’re always coming closer you see and there’s a risk of one hitting earth and that would be a tragedy.
“That spacecraft, the size of a fridge, went 11 million kms and hit this asteroid - talk about skill and great science.”
After the spacecraft successfully hit and redirected the asteroid, NASA said in a statement:
“All of us have a responsibility to protect our home planet. After all, it’s the only one we have,” a spokesperson said.
“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.
“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.”
Main image: Luke O'Neill in Newstalk's studio in Dublin. Picture by: Newstalk