By Karin Tijerina, CNN • Updated 11th July 2020
A NASA spacecraft may be out to save our planet, but how far will it go to protect our solar system?
The agency announced this week that a mission to measure how an asteroid impacts with the Earth could finally be giving us a “dent in the calendar” for when we should act on our own safety to avoid catastrophic impacts.
The InSight Mission is building from the plutonium-powered Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (TREER) device from the Curiosity Rover on Mars. The telescope will collect data for three years using a solar-powered device.
The prospectus (featured video at bottom of this story) will be shown to Congress, a potential savior to NASA following years of criticism that it spent billions of dollars doing more than what it was meant to.
“The InSight Probe has evolved into a new kind of spacecraft that is designed to interact with the Martian surface for longer than ever before and will drive deep inside a celestial body for the first time,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement Tuesday.
“And as InSight begins to gather its data, the US space agency is creating a plan for further planetary defense measures that will act as a ‘dent in the calendar’ so humanity can take appropriate action.”
The Planetary Defense Coordination Office has submitted a detailed plan with the public’s help to NASA for “Planetary Defense” that would involve deflecting harmful asteroids that pass too close to Earth, according to CNN.
The announcement and new lander were all part of the 30th anniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.