NASA To Launch Planetary Defense Mission

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NASA is going to launch a mission for the first time that uses a deflection technique against asteroids for defending the planet.

NASA Launching DART Mission To Deflect Asteroid

The mission is known as DART, Double Asteroid Redirection Test and it will be able to show how any deadly impact due to an asteroid could be averted if one was to be heading towards Earth. It would be able to strike the asteroid with force enough that it would force it to move trajectory away from the Earth, this is a method that is called kinetic impactor technique.

The mission is at the moment in the preliminary design phase, but the goal of it is to strike Didymos B, which is the smallest of the two binary asteroids that are said to be approaching Earth in 2022 and will make their way around again in 2024. The program scientist, Tom Statler, said that a binary asteroid would be the perfect natural laboratory of a test.

DART Will Hit Didymos B Nine Times The Speed Of A Bullet

DART is about the size of a regular fridge, and it has an autonomous targeting system onboard that it will aim at Didymos B and will then proceed to hit it at around nine times faster than a bullet from a gun would hit it. Andy Cheng from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel Maryland in the USA said that the mission is a very critical step in showing how Earth can be protected from a possible impact by an asteroid.

He went on to say that as no one knows very much about the internal composition or internal structure of asteroids, the mission is needed as an experiment on an asteroid that is real. He said that thanks to DART, NASA will be able to show just how Earth can be protected in the event of an asteroid strike with a kinetic impactor as it can knock any objects that are hazardous hard enough to send them onto a different flight path, one that would not be any threat to Earth.

On the website of NASA, it was said that the DART mission is now moving away from the concept development and going into the preliminary design phase after getting approval from NASA on 23 June. NASA said that the target for DART is Didymos B, which is about 530 feet in size; the system has been under the close scrutiny of NASA since 2003.

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