When describing what makes HEMI so extreme, I can enthusiastically begin describing their involvement in the NASA/ESA Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) Mission. It’s a scenario pulled directly from a sci-fi book or movie, and something that I was surprised to learn is actually being very actively planned and prepared for. The expertise and ingenuity in testing materials makes HEMI an essential partner in understanding what may happen when we attempt to strike an incoming asteroid. Whether it will deflect, or break into a million pieces depends a lot on truly understanding its characteristics. This is easier said than done on far off, fast-moving space objects. This series of photographs uses analogy to represent the concerns and ideas that HEMI is thinking about.
We can see thermal fatigue in a common dinner plate floating in space as a reference to regolith formation on asteroids.
A box of packing peanuts near another image of many incoming, earth-bound bollides is a dire warning about trying to control many loose objects once they are no longer contained.
Finally we see the most extreme image in the series, an extinction size meteor. It is the fear factor, a natural threat that is perhaps more universal to all of humankind than any other event could be. It is the very definition of extreme and I am astounded by the efforts to protect the Earth from this catastrophe.