NASA launches the first defense spacecraft mission that could potentially save the Earth from threatening asteroids.
You may see this scene many times in movies that make you very excited, but never thought that you will watch it in real life.
On Wednesday, NASA launched a spacecraft to the most unusual mission in years, DART. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test is a $325 million mission scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
However, don’t worry, this oncoming asteroid doesn’t carry any threat to our planet. But could be a perfect opportunity to test whether crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid can nudge it into a different path.
“We’re smashing into an asteroid,” NASA’s senior launch director Omar Baez said “I can’t believe we’re doing that”
NASA couldn’t accomplish this mission without Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The DART spacecraft lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
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DART is a 610-kilogram spacecraft that will travel about 15,000 miles per hour. The goal of the mission is to hit Dimorphos asteroid which is a moon of Didymos. The purpose is to see how the impact changes the asteroid’s trajectory.
How human can benefit from this?
This test will clarify to NASA how a kinetic impact technique could work against an asteroid that poses a threat to the Earth. In case, one time, in the future, a huge and threatening asteroid were identified, NASA could save the Earth by sending out a spacecraft like DART to smash into the asteroid and push it into a different direction.
The results of this technology will not be clear till the spacecraft reaches its destination in September 2022. To monitor if it really impacts the motion of near-Earth binary asteroids when they are at their closest point to Earth, roughly 6.8 million miles away.
However, will that work? Many people wonder!