Nasa Tests New Technology for Defending Earth Against Giant Asteroids

Nasa Tests New Technology for Defending Earth Against Giant Asteroids

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, launched Wednesday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Base in California.

NASA is determined to save us from any future asteroids that will collide with Earth: The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is a part of NASA’s larger planetary defense strategy. Its goal is to slightly change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be accurately measured using ground-based telescopes.

DART will show that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it – a method of deflection called kinetic impact. The test will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered. 

For the test, NASA will send DART on a one-way trip to the Didymos asteroid system, which comprises a pair of asteroids, targeting the moonlet that orbits around them- Dimorphos . It will intercept the Didymos system between Sept. 26 and Oct. 1, 2022, intentionally slamming into Dimorphos at roughly 4 miles per second. Scientists will then measure that change of the asteroid’s orbit from telescopes on earth. The researches believe that Dimorphos will be slowed down by a few minutes as a result of the clash.

“DART is turning science fiction into science fact and is a testament to NASA’s proactivity and innovation for the benefit of all,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “We’re also working to protect that home, and this test will help prove out one viable way to protect our planet from a hazardous asteroid should one ever be discovered that is headed toward Earth.”

No one has yet identified any significant asteroid impact threat to Earth, but the goal of the DART collaboration is to find any possible impact, years to decades in advance, so it can be deflected with a capability like DART, which is possible with the technology we currently have.