RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)—NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will be bracing for impact when it intentionally crashes into a small asteroid next week.
NASA is testing DART by crashing it into a “small asteroid called Dimorphos,” officials said. This will be DART’s first test.
DART blasted off for its mission on November 24, 2021 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, according to NASA.
This is being done to try and change the asteroid’s speed and orbit around a larger asteroid in a binary asteroid system, officials explained.
According to NASA, this asteroid system is about seven million miles from Earth. And this test will help to see if an asteroid can be redirected if the need ever arose.
Astronomers will be monitoring the orbit of Dimorphos to see if the Double Asteroid Redirection Test has any impact on the asteroid’s movement in space, NASA said.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson shared how DART is making science fiction into reality.
“DART is turning science fiction into science fact and is a testament to NASA’s proactivity and innovation for the benefit of all,” said Nelson. “In addition to all the ways NASA studies our universe and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this test will help prove out one viable way to protect our planet from a hazardous asteroid should one ever be discovered that is headed toward Earth.”
NASA said there is no “significant risk” to Earth from an asteroid for the next 100 years, but its Planetary Defense Coordination Office is always working to stay prepared and aware of potential risks.
“We have not yet found any significant asteroid impact threat to Earth, but we continue to search for that sizable population we know is still to be found. Our goal is to find any possible impact, years to decades in advance, so it can be deflected with a capability like DART that is possible with the technology we currently have,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at NASA Headquarters.
The test is scheduled to happen on Monday, September 26 at 7:14 p.m. eastern standard time.
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