The universe is a dangerous place and the threat of asteroids has left humanity between a rock and a hard place. Luckily, there are some stone cold rock stars at NASA working to develop a defense system that is suddenly all the rage in the ‘roid world. In what could be the most historic shot since David took down Goliath, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) successfully hit and altered the course of an asteroid “that is just 560 feet across — or about half the length of the Eiffel Tower — with a tiny spacecraft that was launched from Earth nearly a year ago.” In the words of a great sage, “Whoa, whoa, nice shootin’, Tex.” How important is it that our aim was true? For that, let’s look back at an incident that took place about 66 million years ago, when “an asteroid that was between 6 and 10 miles wide slammed into the waters off the Yucatán Peninsula, near what is now Chicxulub, Mexico. The energy released by the resulting explosion had the force of 100 trillion tons of TNT, equivalent to 10 billion Hiroshima nuclear bombs. Mega-tsunamis swamped the surrounding coasts, and more than 1,000 cubic miles of vaporized rock were blown into the sky … All in all, it was a very, very bad day to be a dinosaur, or, for that matter, just about anything else living on Earth. More than 75 percent of the planet’s species would die out in the final — so far, at least — of the planet’s five great extinction events.” In other words, this is a really big deal, and NASA’s scientists weren’t just getting their rocks off. Welcome to the new stone age.

+ The Atlantic: Maybe We Won’t End Up Like the Dinosaurs.

+ “Looks to me like we’re heading straight in.” It all sounded a little like a Spacegasm.