Elon Musk has wished luck to NASA's planetary defence mission DART in his typical cryptic style. The mission, launched on Wednesday, is set to give a non-threatening asteroid a small nudge to see whether it can change its direction. But the SpaceX and Tesla CEO, known to find fun in most serious situations, said he wanted the mission to avenge the devastation an asteroid caused on Earth that led to the extinction of dinosaurs which roamed this planet some 650 million years ago.
“Avenge the dinosaurs,” Musk tweeted, referring to the extinction event which took place millions of years ago when an asteroid crashed into Earth eliminating the dinosaur species. Musk's reaction came on a tweet by a NASA handle on the launch of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission.
“Asteroids have been hitting the Earth for billions of years. Now, we begin to make it stop. NASA's planetary defense test mission – the DART mission – has lifted off and is now on a journey to impact an asteroid in the fall of 2022,” NASA Asteroid Watch had tweeted.
Twitter users reacted to Musk's tweet with their own funny takes. “Yes. I won't tolerate another dinosaur extinction,” replied one user.
The DART mission launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from a base in California. Its mission is to hit an asteroid to test the technology for defending Earth against any potential incoming asteroid or comet hazards. The asteroid, a moonlet named Dimorphos, is approximately 530 feet in diameter and currently not a threat to Earth. But it belongs to a class of bodies known as Near-Earth Objects. The mission's objective is to only slightly change the asteroid's motion in a way that can be accurately measured using ground-based telescopes.
The spacecraft will hit the moonlet between September 26 and October 1 next year.
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