Nearly two decades after Bruce Willis and his buddies saved the world from an asteroid collision with a little help from Michael Bay in Armageddon, the powers that be in Washington have finally gotten around to trying to figure out how to do the same.
Last week, NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration announced a partnership that would agree to begin working on better ways to address planetary defense, like asteroids potentially crashing into the Earth’s surface and causing Hollywood-sized destruction.
What exactly they’re working on is being kept under wraps, but it most likely involves pointed nuclear strikes in orbit and other methods to neutralize potential threats. But isn’t this always how it goes? Once we know we’re gonna die, people start working together. Besides asteroids, we hope they try to address the potential threats from the alien baddies from Independence Day (though if we learned anything from that movie all we would need to do is upload a virus into their computers). Also, maybe Godzilla and the assorted kaiju from Pacific Rim, clambering up from the middle of the ocean via — space somewhere, right?
The agreement between the two agencies seems to be partly spurred by a 7,000-ton meteoroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013 that caused blindness, burns, shattered windows, and the best fireworks display anyone in middle-of-nowhere Russia has likely ever seen. Turns out human beings know a warning shot when they see one.
Kevin Greenaugh, a senior official at the NNSA, told the New York Times, “It’s a big step forward. Whenever you have multiple agencies coming together for the common defense, that’s news.”
These falling balls of craggy ice and space-fire may possibly spell certain doom for our planet one day, but at least they caused two government agencies to try to come together in solidarity and get stuff done. If there’s one thing a ball of impending space death can punch through, it’s red tape.