NASA will test 'planetary defense' system by shooting a rocket at an asteroid

  • 16 Oct - 22 Oct, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

NASA is getting ready to kick the asteroid of any space rock that comes close to Earth. The space agency announced it is officially moving forward with a trial run of its Double Asteroid Redirection Test, marking the first demonstration of the "kinetic impactor technique" in which one or more large, high-speed spacecraft are sent into the path of an asteroid to change its motion, NASA explained. The agency's target is Dimorphos, a 525-foot long moon orbiting the much larger asteroid Didymos. "The mission aims to shift an asteroid's orbit through kinetic impact – specifically, by impacting a spacecraft into the smaller member of the binary asteroid system Didymos to change its orbital speed," NASA said in a press release. The mission will begin on November 24 at 1:20 a.m. ET. with the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. "Our #DARTMission, launching this November, will also be our first test for planetary defense," reads a post to the NASA Asteroid Watch Twitter page. Coverage of the event will be available to stream over NASA TV, the agency's app and website. For anyone worried about the experiment going wrong, NASA clarified that the impact will take place around 6.8 million miles from the planet, and will pose no danger to those on Earth.