Photo Credit: Photo by NASA
NASA Will Deliberately Crash A Spacecraft Into An Asteroid This Month
This bit of news reads like sci-fi fantasy, but it’s very much real. NASA is planning to deliberately crash a spacecraft valued at $330 million dollars into an asteroid.
Why? According to The Guardian, they are doing it “to test if it can avert sci-fi fears of catastrophic impact with Earth.”
The Double Asteroid Redirect Test spacecraft (or DART), will act as a battering ram and crash into an asteroid on September 26. The asteroid, named Dimorphos, isn’t that far from Earth and the objective is to find ways to protect Earth in the event of asteroid impact.
NASA said last Thursday, “while the asteroid poses no threat to Earth, this is the world’s first test of the kinetic impact technique, using a spacecraft to deflect an asteroid for planetary defense.”
Back in November 2021, the space agency launched a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket along with DART from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.
As explained by Fox Weather, “now, 10 months later, DART will catch up with the asteroid by executing three trajectory correction maneuvers over the next three weeks. Scientists say that each maneuver will reduce the margin of error for the spacecraft’s required trajectory to impact Dimorphos.”
Approximately a day before the collision, NASA experts will have a very good idea of the asteroid’s location. If the collision is successful, they “will apply the same technique to larger asteroids, and collect data to create a defense plan,” for Earth.