The Tech That Will Save Us From An Apocalyptic Asteroid Looks Awesome

The Tech That Will Save Us From An Apocalyptic Asteroid Looks Awesome
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Gizmodo Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

In celebration of World Asteroid Day this week, scientists came out of the woodwork to explain to all the different ways we can prevent an asteroid from causing an Armageddon-level apocalypse.

Picture: AIM watching an kinetic impactor, via ESA – ScienceOffice.org

The European Space Agency used the occasion to promote its proposed Asteroid Impact Mission, which might deflect an asteroid using a so-called kinetic impactor — basically, a second projectile that could knock a big asteroid off its Earth-destroying trajectory. They also released this series of images, which show us how a mission designed to stop a space rock from slamming into our planet and annihilating all life on Earth — while clearly heroic — might also be quite beautiful.

While the chance of a kilometer-scale asteroid slamming into the Earth and eviscerating our biosphere is quite low, even a relatively small space rock could cause serious damage. What’s more, developing this sort of asteroid redirection technology for defence purposes may pay off in unexpected ways. If, for instance, we can use kinetic impactors to send a platinum-rich asteroid our way, well, that would pay for the cost of the mission a thousand times over.

AIM phoning home

AIM networking for a kinetic impact

AIM with lander

AIM scanning a secondary impactor

AIM using infrared imaging to monitor moment of impact