NASA working on Earth defense technology to destroy asteroids that could obliterate human civilization
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has revealed its latest project in hopes of sparing the planet and protecting the human race from a potentially devastating asteroid impact.
The initiative, called Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), is a refrigerator-sized aircraft designed to deliberately crash into a smaller component of the Didymos asteroid, a binary asteroid system slated to make a distant approach to Earth in October 2022, and then again in 2024. The asteroid system has been on NASA’s radar and was closely monitored since 2003. It is made up of two bodies: Didymos A that measures about half a mile in size, and Didymos B, which measures around 530 feet.
The calculated crash is expected to generate an impact of approximately 3.7 miles per second — or about about nine times faster than the speed of a bullet — in order to alter the asteroid system’s course. The space agency’s DART project is slated to impact only Didymos B, whose composition remains unclear. However, its size is typical of asteroids, which means that Didymos B has enough potential to trigger regional effects upon its impact to the planet.
“DART would be NASA’s first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique — striking the asteroid to shift its orbit — to defend against a potential future asteroid impact. This approval step advances the project toward an historic test with a non-threatening small asteroid,” Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer in Washington, was quoted as saying in TheSun.co.uk.