August 17, 2011
Since America has abandoned its mission in space, it is up to the Europeans to save us from looming catastrophe, and they have thankfully picked up the slack.
The European Space Agency is planning to launch a robotic probe that, by 2015, will rendezvous with an asteroid and release an impacter that will collide with the asteroid in the hopes that the asteroid’s trajectory is thrown off course. A companion probe will then monitor the course of the asteroid to see if we are all still f***ked.
The mission has been dubbed Don Quixote, after the folktale of a delusional old man flails hopelessly at windmills in a vain quest to realize his imagined potential alongside a stumpy sidekick named Sancho. The parallels are eerie.