NASA have revealed their plans to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid next week to test out our defences against potentially world ending asteroids.
To assess NASA’s current defences, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) was established back in 2021 and is scheduled to occur next week.
DART will see a small spacecraft target an asteroid which is currently not on path to earth in an attempt to test our ability to evade an Armageddon event.
The spacecraft will be flown into the asteroid named Dimorphos at approximately four miles per second and will hopefully knock the asteroid out of orbit.
Experts believe the test will help us to devise a contingency plan in the unlikely case an asteroid is on a collision path with earth.
Why is NASA crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid? Listen to the latest episode of The Science Briefing below:
The asteroid in question is not believed to be a threat to earth and is located approximately 20 million miles away.
Dr Sophie Calabretto chats with Cosmo Magazine’s science journalist Matthew Agius who explains exactly what we can expect when the spacecraft collides with the asteroid.
“This is an asteroid the size of a soccer field, it’s about 160 metres across,” he said
‘Dimorphos however, is only a baby in asteroid terms. It orbits a 780-metre-wide parent asteroid called Didymos.
“There’s two goals with this project… the question is can we actually hit a small distant object with a very fast-moving space craft and the second goal is to see how Dimorphos actually responds to the impact.”
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