NASA Tests System to Keep Earth Safe by Moving Asteroid

NASA Tests System to Keep Earth Safe by Moving Asteroid

( – This year, scientists at the University of Texas announced they are quite certain an enormous asteroid caused most dinosaurs to go extinct 66 million years ago. Understandably, no one living on earth today would want such a horrifying event to happen again. So, NASA is testing a new system next month in hopes of redirecting any future asteroids that may be heading towards earth.

On November 23, NASA will launch a Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission in an attempt to change the motion of the asteroid Didymos’ moonlet Didymoon. The DART spacecraft will launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base.

The Kennedy Space Center a mock-up photo of the spacecraft and its mission:

While the asteroid pair does not currently threaten Earth, Didymoon did come within 3.7 million miles of this planet in 2003, forcing NASA to dub it a “potentially hazardous” near-Earth object (NEO). The DART mission will be the first of its kind to attempt the kinetic impact technique, where the spacecraft crashes into the asteroid to change its trajectory.

NASA acknowledged that to deflect any future asteroids, the agency could need years to build and launch an impactor able to deflect the asteroid, depending on its size. However, the simple fact that engineers are able to consider this idea and put it into action is simultaneously mind-blowing and comforting.

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