Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Home SCIENCE NASA's DART mission will test a planetary defense strategy by hitting an...

NASA’s DART mission will test a planetary defense strategy by hitting an asteroid

If all goes well, a spacecraft NASA launched last November will crash into an asteroid on Monday.

If everything goes absolutely perfectlythat impact will push the asteroid into a slightly different orbit, meaning that for the first time, humans will have changed the trajectory of a celestial object.

Making history, however, is incidental. The real mission is to defend the planet.

There’s no need to panic: The target space rock has no chance of hitting Earth, nor any other known asteroid for at least half a century. This NASA mission, operated by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, is testing a technique to redirect an asteroid in case future Earth people really need to move one out of the way.

The basic idea couldn’t be simpler: Hit it with a hammer! But the degree of difficulty is high, in part because no one has ever seen the asteroid that NASA plans to push. It is a small moon called Dimorphos that is about the size of a football stadium.

Sky watchers operating the world’s highest-powered telescopes detect the small moon only as a shadow crossing the larger orbiting asteroid, Didymos, as the two revolve around the sun together. The pair form a “double asteroid,” a common arrangement in our solar system.

Here’s how the $330 million Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is designed to work:


The long road to driverless trucks

This article is part of our series on the future of transportationthat explores innovations and challenges that affect the way we move around the...

Hurricane Ian intensifies into a monster with weather markings

Florida braces for impact as Hurricane Ian moves toward the state's vulnerable Gulf Coast. The exact path of the storm remains uncertain, but it seems...

New studies say Wuhan market is only ‘plausible’ source of COVID-19 pandemic

Not long after the World Health Organization and China released a report last year ruling out the possibility that the SARS-CoV-2 virus originated in...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Amazon Fall 2022 Product Launch Event: News, Announcements, and More

Amazon's annual fall event is here, and the company is expected to announce new products from all of its brands, and that likely means...

Avicii’s family sells 75% of Late DJ catalog to Pophouse

The family of Avicii, the late multi-platinum Swedish DJ, has sold 75% of his recordings and master releases to Pophouse Entertainment, the Stockholm-based company...