A Small Nudge is All it Takes

What the NASA DART mission can teach us about achieving our goals

Aron Brand
Management Matters
Published in
2 min readOct 6, 2022


How can one person change the world? We are all tiny specks in this huge universe, so can we dare to think we can make a difference?

It turns out that if you identify your goal early enough, a small nudge can be all that is necessary to move the entire world in the right course.

Imagine Dimorphos, a 170 meter wide rock, or scientifically speaking, a minor-planet moon of the near-Earth asteroid Didymos. This space object could have been easily mistaken for a huge falafel ball, that is, if they made falafel balls with the mass of 50 aircraft carriers. If Dimorphos were to hit our planet, that would not be our brightest moment as a species, and that’s a pretty big understatement.

While the trajectory of Dimorphos is not truly a threat to our planet, NASA is investigating the best way to deflect such an object. How do you stop something like that? The answer lies in a small nudge applied early enough. The DART mission spacecraft was designed to do just that. The DART impactor was minuscule in comparison to its target, something like a Harley Davidson bike with a chunky rider. A motorbike, heavy as it may be, is not a very effective method for stopping 50 aircraft carriers (or huge falafel balls). Indeed, DART evaporated without making much of an impression on Dimorphos, reducing the rock’s orbital velocity by only the tiniest amount — about 0.4 mm per second. But nevertheless, it was a smashing success, because over the course of years, that tiny difference will accumulate.

It turns out that a small change, if applied early enough, could be sufficient to mitigate or prevent an impact.

The same idea can be applied in our own lives. We may feel like we are tiny specks in the grand scheme of things, but we can make a difference if we identify our goals early enough and take small steps toward them. The key is to act early, because it’s that small nudge applied early enough that can set the course for something great.

Yes, It is true that you are tiny, and the world is very big. You may not be able to stop an asteroid from hitting the earth. But you don’t need to be a superhero in order to plant ideas in people’s heads, water them with your actions, and watch them grow into world-changing movements.

A small nudge is all it takes.

Image Credit: Aron Brand x DALLE-2