NASA to crash spacecraft into asteroid to test planetary defense: What to know - Fox News
Nov 20, 2021 1 min, 8 secs

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, the world's first planetary defense test mission, is scheduled to launch early Wednesday morning. .

The agency said the mission will help determine if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change the asteroid's course.

Illustration of NASA's DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) LICIACube prior to impact at the Didymos binary system.

"The Didymos system is the ideal candidate for DART because it poses no actual impact threat to Earth, and scientists can measure the change in Dimorphos’ orbit with ground-based telescopes," NASA said in a media advisory. .

"This technique is thought to be the most technologically mature approach for mitigating a potentially hazardous asteroid, and it will help planetary defense experts refine asteroid kinetic impactor computer models, giving insight into how we could deflect potentially dangerous near-Earth objects in the future."

According to the agency, the kinetic impact will prove that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and kinetically impact it. The scientists will use Earth-based telescopes to measure the effects of the impact on the asteroid system, leading to enhanced modeling and predictive capabilities. 

The DART mission is led by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and managed under NASA'S Solar System Exploration Program and the Science Mission Directorate’s Planetary Science Division

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