Shreveport Man is Working With NASA to Save Earth From Asteroids
Do you remember the 1998 Ben Affleck/Bruce Willis blockbuster movie Armageddon? The film centered on a group of offshore oil rig workers / hastily-trained astronauts pressed into action by a desperate U.S. government to set nuclear explosives on a huge asteroid on a collision course with Earth. Nothing less than the survival of the human (and every other) species depends upon the success of this mission. Saying that the idea is far-fetched is a gigantic understatement. All of that is pure science fiction, right? Thanks in part to a very smart man from Shreveport, not entirely.
According to a report from WNTZ, Aerospace Engineer with the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Dr. Justin Atchison is working with his fellow eggheads at NASA on a solution to the whole life-ending-space-rock problem thing right now. They also report that Dr. Justin hails from Shreveport.
Atchison is part of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), a first-of-its-mission set to follow in the movie Armageddon's footsteps. According to report, the team launched a specialized spacecraft that is now travelling an incredible six million miles away, where it will eventually crash into an asteroid at 15,000 miles per hour. Just like in the movie, the plan is to knock the planet killer off-course.
The test phase of this mission is just that - a test. It's the slide-rule crowd's version of "hold my beer and watch this." Even though this huge space rock doesn't pose a direct risk to our planet, the data collected when they smash into it at break-neck speeds will allow us to build spacecraft that will be ready to perform the same task if the need ever does arise.
Shreveport native Dr. Atchison is as smart as they come. He reportedly made it to the prestigious John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab by first making his way through Stoner Hill Elementary, Caddo Middle Magnet, Caddo Middle High, and then the Caddo Career Center. After that, he attended Louisiana Tech in Ruston, then went on to Cornell University. That being said, you can still hear the Ratchet City in this quote from the WNTZ report:
We basically just hit the asteroid as fast as we can, and in doing so, nudge it ever so slightly. Then if it’s done early enough and in the right direction, that could prevent it from hitting Earth in the future.
Basically, hit 'em as hard as you can before they can hit you - that's the Shreveport way.