NASA’s is about to launch an unprecedented mission to knock an asteroid slightly off-course. In the first real-world test of a technique that could someday be used to protect Earth from a threatening space rock, a spacecraft is scheduled to blast off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Tuesday, November 23 at 10:20 pm PST.
The golf-cart-sized spacecraft will travel to an asteroid that’s over 6 million miles away and poses no danger to Earth —and ram into it. Scientists will then watch to see how the asteroid’s trajectory changes. NASA’s has identified and tracked almost all of the nearby asteroids of a size that would cause world-altering damage if they ever struck Earth. For the foreseeable future, none that big are headed our way.
DART is demonstrating asteroid deflection. It is absolutely not asteroid disruption, which is how it goes a lot of times in the movies. The asteroid targeted by DART isn’t a danger to the planet now, and Chabot says there’s no chance this mission could make it one. “There is absolutely no way that the DART test is a threat to the Earth.
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