We are extremely unprepared for an impending, potentially ending civilization collision with an asteroid. Knowing this, NASA is developing planetary defense solutions to add to its arsenal of space technology.
One of these technologies, NASA’s DART spacecraft, is scheduled to launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 10:20 a.m. Pacific time on Nov. 23. press release reveals.
IN Double asteroid redirection test (DART) will send a spacecraft traveling at 15,000 miles per hour (24,000 km / h) to an asteroid next year somewhere between September 26 and October 1.
Before that happens, it will have to fly 6.8 million miles from Earth to reach the target asteroid Dimorphos. The purpose of the mission is to determine the feasibility of a method that would change the trajectory of the asteroid to take it out of the course of a collision with the Earth.
Preparing for Armageddon
NASA provided new details about the mission at a press briefing on Thursday, November 4. “Although there is currently no known asteroid that is aware of an impact with Earth, we know that there is a large population of near-Earth asteroids there,” said Lindley Johnson, a NASA planetary defense officer.
“The key to planetary protection is to find them long before they threaten to strike,” Johnson continued. “We don’t want to be in a situation where an asteroid is heading for Earth, and then we have to test that ability.
Once the DART spacecraft reaches Dimorphos, a satellite with a miniature camera will exit the spacecraft to orbit the asteroid and collect images and data from the collision. The 548 kg DART spacecraft will not cause significant damage to the asteroid. Instead, it will give a boost to the space stone to change its trajectory.
Johnson said there were more than 27,000 asteroids close to Earth in space, although no one is currently thought to pose a real danger to Earth. However, in 2019 a large asteroid called “2019 OK” flew between the Earth and the Moon and was spotted just 24 hours before its close flight. Last year, NASA and ESA experts performed simulation exercise which showed that we were terribly unprepared for the event of a large asteroid making its way to Earth. All in all, NASA’s DART mission will mean that we will have at least one technology in the world’s planetary defense arsenal.