NASA preparing weapon to
protect Earth from asteroids
NASA plans to test out its first-ever planetary defense mission developed to protect Earth from a possible collision with an asteroid.
WASHINGTON — NASA plans to test out its first-ever planetary defense mission developed to protect Earth from a possible collision with an asteroid.
NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, is the first planetary defense mission in history. Its main objective is to demonstrate a kinetic impact on an asteroid.
According to NASA, DART's target is a 150-meter moonlet called Didymos B, a small satellite orbiting a larger near-Earth asteroid called Didymos."
The asteroid binary is located roughly 11 million kilometers from Earth. The spacecraft will be guided by an onboard camera and an autonomous real-time navigation system.
DART will crash against the moonlet at a speed of roughly 6 kilometers per second. Its objective is to change the speed and direction of the incoming object.
The spacecraft is scheduled to launch in June 2021 and expected to hit the asteroid by October 2022.
In 2013 a small 18-meter-wide meteor crashed into the Earth's atmosphere and entered over Chelyabinsk, Russia, creating a shockwave that hit six cities across the country.
According to NASA, this event is proof of the importance of carrying out preventive planetary defense missions in space.
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