Time to avenge dinosaurs' wipeout with asteroid defense system: Elon Musk
New Delhi : SpaceX chief Elon Musk on Thursday said that it’s time to avenge the wipeout of dinosaurs from Earth with NASA's asteroid defense mission. NASA on Wednesday launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft, intended to deliberately crash into an asteroid and change its course of travel.
The DART mission blasted off into the space with the help of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. It is believed that a huge asteroid had collided with the Earth, due to which the dinosaurs were extinct from the planet.
"Avenge the dinosaurs!!" Musk said in a tweet.
The asteroid credited with the extinction of the dinosaurs is likely to have originated from the outer half of the solar system`s main asteroid belt, according to a recent research by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).
Known as the Chicxulub impactor, this large object has an estimated width of 9.6 kilometres and produced a crater in Mexico`s Yucatan peninsula that spans 145 kilometres, the space.com reported.
After its sudden contact with Earth, the asteroid wiped out not only the dinosaurs, but around 75 per cent of the planet`s animal species. It is widely accepted that this explosive force created was responsible for the mass extinction that ended the Mesozoic era, the report said.
The prime aim of DART mission is to avoid any such case in future and keep our planet safe from large asteroid collissions.
The spacecraft is aimed towards Dimorphos, a "moonlet" around 525 feet (160 meters, or two Statues of Liberty) wide, circling a much larger asteroid called Didymos (2,500 feet or 780 meters in diameter), which together orbit the Sun.
According to scientists, the collision is expected to happen in the fall of 2022, when the pair of rocks at 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometres) from Earth comes closest to our planet.