Tomorrow, NASA will attempt to redirect an asteroid Bruce Willis style. And the actor was invited to witness the event.
At 1:21 am ET, NASA will launch its first-ever Double Asteroid Redirection Test—or DART for short. The $325 million mission will attempt to nudge a non-threatening asteroid off of its path. Kind of like Bruce Willis did in Armageddon.
NASA couldn’t resist the chance to have the one and only Bruce Willis sit inside California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base when the rocket launches in the morning. After all, the entire mission does sound like a nod to his 1998 action-thriller.
So department administrator Bill Nelson personally invited the actor to the event. But unfortunately, Willis will not be in attendance.
In an interview, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the agency invited Bruce Willis to the launch of the asteroid redirect mission because of his role in “Armageddon.” Nelson said he’s not going but “we didn’t want to miss that connection.”— Christian Davenport (@wapodavenport) November 23, 2021
NASA’s Asteroid Bumping Rocket is Apparently Not Related to the Plot of Bruce Willis’s ‘Armageddon’
Though the DART mission does sound similar to the plot of Armageddon, it’s not actually related to the movie. And Bruce didn’t give NASA the idea—or so they claim.
As soon as NASA announced its plans to smash into an asteroid as a way of ensuring we don’t suffer the same fate as the dinosaurs, people couldn’t help but notice the connection to Willis’s flick. And who can blame them?
But the administration quickly grew tired of the comparisons. So in 2019, it released a statement that (was intended to) put them to rest.
“The idea of a kinetic impactor is definitely not like [the movie] Armageddon, where you go up at the last hour and you know, save the Earth,” Johns Hopkins planetary scientist and DART team member Nancy Chabot said. “This is something that you would do five, 10, 15, 20 years in advance — gently nudge the asteroid so it just sails merrily on its way and doesn’t impact the Earth.”
What Happens After The DART Mission Launches?
Once the spacecraft shoots past our atmosphere atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, it will spend nearly a year traveling to an asteroid system more than 6.5 million miles away from Earth. The craft will target a rock measuring 525 feet across that orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos.
According to NASA, neither of the asteroids poses a threat to humanity. But the system is a “perfect testing ground” for whether a spacecraft can effectively redirect an asteroid.
That way, should a space rock ever come hurtling towards earth in the future, we won’t actually have to sacrifice Bruce Willis in a last-ditch effort to save mankind.