In the classic masterpiece, Armageddon, by auteur Michael Bay, Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck were epically sent into space to blow up an asteroid headed straight for Earth. Now in real life, scientists want to try and do the same thing.
Don't worry, no asteroid is currently slated to destroy Earth right now. The closest one, the 99942 Apophis, still only has a 1 in 250,000 shot in touching us. We're safe. We're fine. No need to fire up the Aerosmith. It's just that scientists from the European Space Agency want to see if blowing up an asteroid is possible. They're curious, as I'm sure Michael Bay once was, at finding out what would scientifically happen.
So they're planning the Armageddon IRL mission for 2015. But instead of sending a perfectly misfit team of oil drillers to space, they'll be hurtling a satellite straight into the asteroid to see if it's a potential Earth-saving move. The mission, officially called Don Quixote, will send a ~500kg satellite named Hidalgo flying into an asteroid at 9.6km/s. Another satellite will be in the vicinity to see if the asteroid changes paths. The hope is, of course, that it does move a bit, so we know how to protect ourselves in the future if Armageddon were to really happen.
Let's hope we don't alter the path so much that the asteroid starts heading straight to Earth. [Daily Mail]