Asteroid whisperer | MIT Technology Review


“We’ve been observing Didymos for 5 years, to grasp the state of the system earlier than we modify it endlessly, so we will inform [the difference between] what we did with DART versus what was naturally going to occur,” says Rivkin. “As soon as we get and interpret the outcomes, we will apply them as wanted. Or, hopefully, not wanted.”

When he’s not engaged on a doubtlessly life-on-Earth-saving mission, Rivkin research how that life might need come about within the first place. 

“There’s a variety of dialogue ongoing that the water and natural supplies we now have on Earth had been introduced in through impacts with asteroids and comets,” he says. “So the examine of the place the water is in asteroids has a variety of bearing on that.”

Rivkin makes use of astronomical spectroscopy and spectrophotometry to find out the composition of asteroids in our photo voltaic system. This implies he measures the spectra of electromagnetic radiation emanating from asteroids and comets to find out the place such supplies is likely to be current. 

This celestial dowsing might additionally assist human life increase farther into the cosmos. To that finish, Rivkin has performed work with the Photo voltaic System Exploration Analysis Digital Institute, which asks questions like: May we use asteroid water as rocket propellant on deep house missions? If that’s the case, which asteroids are good pit-stop candidates? 

However with nice information comes nice accountability, and Rivkin feels obligated to handle the host of moral concerns that include house journey. 

“What does it imply if we’re going to increase our economic system into house? What are the ethics of that? How will we carry the most effective components of humanity and never our worst components?” he asks. 

Enthusiastic about the evolution and destiny of human life within the universe can get heavy, so Rivkin turns to music when he wants a break. Enjoying drums in grade faculty led him to type a band with some pals throughout his time at MIT. Thirty years later, he nonetheless enjoys writing and enjoying music below the identify “Andy Rivkin and his Gedankenband,” and his songs can be found on well-liked streaming platforms. 

“It’s a superb mental-health break simply to choose up a guitar,” he says. “At any time when I give recommendation to somebody going away to school, I at all times say to maintain doing all of your hobbies. Perhaps in junior yr, you’re like, ‘There’s no approach I’ve time for this.’ However you’re going to be a lot happier 10 or 15 to twenty years down the road in case you do.” 



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