Scientists in Europe and the United States are preparing for Cosmic Crash 2022.
But rest easy, folks. This event won’t be nearly as catastrophic as it sounds.
The plan – concocted by the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment mission (AIDA) – is to crash a spacecraft into a giant asteroid and thereby study the insides of the latter space rock.
Two vehicles, one build by Americans the other Europeans, will be launched in 2019 and take a voyage to the asteroid Didymos.
By 2022, that rock will be 6.8 million miles away from Earth, giving it no chance of hitting our solar system – but providing a perfect target for scientists to study and hopefully gain insights into how to deflect asteroids that could eventually pose a threat.
Didymos is a binary asteroid system consisting of two separate space rocks bound together by gravity. The main asteroid measures 2,625 feet across and it is orbited by one that only clocks in at 490 feet.
“This will be our first rendezvous with a binary system.” said Andy Rivkin, a scientist at Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory who is working on the U.S. aspect of the AIDA project.
Just last month, a meteor stuck Russia and injured hundreds of people.
There’s also been fear that an asteroid will pulverize the planet in 2040, an outcome almost no one wants to see happen. But before we call Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck into action, let’s hope Cosmic Crash 2022 achieves its goals.