In September of 2022, NASA steered the DART spacecraft into an asteroid named Dimorphos, attempting to alter its orbit. The experiment was designed to see if we could change the path of an asteroid moving toward a collision with Earth. We can learn a lesson from the DART experiment.
It sounded like a good way to protect our planet from an asteroid impact. Scientists believe an asteroid collision may have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, and a similar one might cause human extinction. The collision did alter the orbit of Dimorphos, which is comforting to know. However, it also caused more potential problems.
The Hubble Space Telescope observed 37 previously unseen objects accompanying Dimorphos in its orbit around the Sun. These are boulders probably blasted off from Dimorphos by the DART collision. They are not just little pieces of rock or dust. Some of the boulders are as large as seven meters in diameter. Calculations show that the weight of the 37 boulders adds up to 5,000 metric tons – the weight of 300 gravel-filled dump trucks.
This incident reminds us of the story of Frankenstein when a scientist created a being that turned into a monster. Dr. Frankenstein did not comprehend where his creation might go once it was out of his control. These boulders do not pose an immediate danger to the Earth but understand that meteorites striking Earth’s surface are generally quite small. The boulders caused by DART’s impact with Dimorphus would cause significant problems if they hit the Earth.
Humans can learn a lesson from this incident. We are not God, and our wisdom and knowledge are incomplete. As God said to Job, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2) In our day of rejecting God and His Word, we must be reminded that altering the design God built into the creation of everything from galaxies to viruses can have tremendous consequences. We have seen that in COVID, and again, we can learn a lesson from the DART experiment.
— John N. Clayton © 2023
Reference: Science News for August 26, 2023, page 10.