NASA Plans to Crash Spacecraft Into Asteroid in Test to One Day Save Earth
NASA plans to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid later this month as part of an experimental test that they hope could one day save the planet. Is anyone else getting serious Armegeddon vibes from this idea?
The Double Asteroid Redirect Test spacecraft, or DART as NASA also calls it, won't be equipped with the likes of Bruce Willis or Ben Affleck but it will be launching a spacecraft at an asteroid. NASA says the first-of-its-kind mission will use DART to impact an asteroid that currently poses no threat to our planet.
DART is a test of our ability to achieve a kinetic impact on an asteroid and observe the asteroid’s response. After DART’s kinetic impact with its target asteroid Dimorphos, an investigation team will measure how much the impact changed the asteroid’s motion in space using telescopes on Earth. This mission engages the international planetary science community and embraces worldwide cooperation to address the global issue of planetary defense.
Again, the target asteroid poses no threat to Earth and NASA is targeting it simply as a test of the system they have developed in the event an asteroid that did pose a threat were ever to be headed toward the planet. According to Fox 9, KMSP, the impact of DART won't cause any changes to the target asteroid.
DART won't change the orbit of Didymos. It aims to change the speed of the moonlet, Dimorphos. Ground-based telescopes and data from the spacecraft will ultimately tell scientists if their plan worked.
Smash-tacular Space Launch
DART has actually been in space for several months now after being attached to the SpaceX Falcon 9 and launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in November 2021. The spacecraft is expected to make its impact with the asteroid on September 26, 2022.