top of page

Crash Landing


Nasa’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is a planetary defence mission to test a novel technique that could potentially deflect hazardous asteroids. During the mission a spacecraft was sent to collide with the moon called Dimorphos, of the asteroid Didymos. The 1,200 pound NASA spacecraft deliberately hit the moon Dimorphos, altering its orbit and thereby demonstrating the effectiveness of the new planetary defence method for the redirection or deflection of hazardous space threats.


I watched NASA's DART mission live-streamed on youtube. For an hour and a half leading up to the impact, I sat glued to my computer full of awe, but in the last few minutes something unexpected happened, upon impact a failure of expectation struck me in the gut. If you watch the sped up clip of the last 5 minutes of the mission47 you will see an asteroid, which I wrongly assumed was Dimorphos, and then a second asteroid,  which I initially thought was the satellite, appear in frame. We go forth and end up passing by the first asteroid without impact, and we head straight towards the second asteroid, and it is then that I realised there is no satellite coming into view because we are the satellite. This really struck me because I wasn't expecting that the perspective, that our perspective would be the path of impact. I was waiting to watch the satellite crash into the asteroid from a distance because that’s the immortal camera perspective I am used to seeing in disaster films. I think theoretically it is important to recognise and step into this first person perspective because we aren't observing reality on this 2D plane or third person view,  we are the satellite and disaster is a part of that reality, in a way we are continuously and in many iterations, on this impact trajectory. I wish Roberto Matta, and Georges Méliès alike, were alive to see this disaster perspective, to experience a crash in the cosmos, our very own voyage dans la lune.48

Screen Shot 2023-06-09 at 9.54.51 PM.png

49The final image depicting the impact collision with the moon Dimorphos during NASA’s DART mission, during which the camera was destroyed 

bottom of page