A recent video of NASA’s DART mission looked like a Borg Cube to some viewers.

By Nathan Kamal
| Published

The recent NASA DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) Mission to collide a spacecraft with an asteroid was a complete success, especially as they meant to do that, on purpose. However, a video of the NASA mission in action has prompted some online speculation that our species may have encountered the Borg from Star Trek, which is not good news for our biological and cultural distinctiveness. As you can see above, if you look closely at the asteroid Dimorphos (technically a satellite of the larger asteroid Didymos), you can see a distinctly straight edge near its bottom, which makes people worried about space cyborgs. 

To be clear, it seems that wags online are having a bit of fun with the NASA video, likening a close-up shot of the asteroid’s gray, rocky surface to the gray, mechanical surface of a Borg Cube. Hopefully, no one is actually thinking that we are meeting the iconic Star Trek villain species with this particular space mission, which is intended to test whether a spacecraft can deflect incoming space rocks by impacting them with their kinetic energy (known as the Billiard Ball Effect). The DART mission has so far been successful, colliding with Dimorphos precisely as planned. 

It is unlikely that NASA has acted in the role of a member of the Q Continuum as introduced us to the Borg, because as everyone knows, humanity does not contact the Borg until the year 2365 (Stardate 42761.3). At this point in history and NASA exploration, the Borg are in the Delta Quadrant, safely thousands of light-years from Earth, so it would beggar belief for them to be showing up anytime soon. Also, the Borg are fictional.

However, it is always nice for NASA fans to be able to have a little fun by imagining encounters with dangerous and implacable alien species that indomitably seek to assimilate everything they come across in search of perfection, like the Borg. After all, expectations are higher for NASA than they have been in some time, with their budget increased to its highest level in years and being under Presidential order to land a manned spacecraft on Mars sometime soon. Combined with competition from private aerospace companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin (despite their general lack of non-blowing up), NASA has a lot on its plate right now.

Also like NASA, the Borg have recently had a resurgence in public interest. While they have never completely disappeared from the franchise, the species was brought back as a villain in the recent Star Trek: Picard series, starring Patrick Stewart in his final turn as the title character and Jeri Ryan reprising the role of Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager. We recently reported that the latter is soon to be receiving her own solo series, which will almost certainly involve more of the Borg. 

At least for now, it is safe to assume that humanity is safe from extraterrestrial technological intelligence coming to dismantle our society. Despite the NASA photos, we’re probably going to invent our own artificial intelligence to utterly destroy us.

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