Press Release

Fast Company Names Two Johns Hopkins APL Innovations as ‘World Changing Ideas’

Two technology breakthroughs developed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, were honored with Fast Company magazine’s 2023 World Changing Ideas awards.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which was designed, built and operated for NASA by APL, was named the winner in the experimental category, while the Laboratory’s PFAS filtration and destruction methodology was recognized as one of nine finalists in the water category.

“The Laboratory is focused on protecting our planet from threats, whether from deep in space or here in our communities,” said APL Director Ralph Semmel. “This year, among our many innovations, we demonstrated the ability to defend Earth from potentially catastrophic asteroid impacts, and we created a way to remove deadly chemicals that can poison soil and water systems. For more than eight decades, APL has been solving the most critical science and technology challenges facing our nation and the world, and awards like these are welcome acknowledgments of the impact of our work.”

The winner of the experimental category, DART, was humanity’s first mission to demonstrate an effective planetary defense technology. Launched in 2021 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the DART spacecraft traveled for 10 months on its one-way trip to Dimorphos and its larger companion asteroid, Didymos.

DART’s successful, autonomously guided collision with the asteroid Dimorphos on Sept. 26, 2022, changed the smaller asteroid’s orbit around Didymos by 33 minutes, proving that kinetic impact could be a method to defend Earth from threatening celestial bodies.