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NASA Launches DART mission to Nuking of Asteroids

NASA has announced that DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission is scheduled to launch on Nov. 24. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry the mission and will be launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The space agency is testing a planetary defense system that could prevent Earth from “hazardous asteroids”.  The asteroid defense plan is called the kinetic impactor technique, which includes shooting spacecraft at the asteroid. The spacecraft will move at a speed of 15,000 miles per hour to change its route.

NASA said, “DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space,”

The DART’s will object binary asteroid labeled as Didymos. The Didymos asteroid system is made up of a 780-meter asteroid and a lesser “moonlet” calculating 160 meters across.

NASA Launches DART mission to Nuking of Asteroids

The spacecraft will intentionally crash into the moonlet by expanding cameras and autonomous navigation at a speed of 6.6 kilometers per second.

The Didymos’ moonlet is 160 meters in size and one kilometer away from it. NASA has a plan to first knock out the smaller moonlet as it could significant threat to Earth than the Didymos’ which is 780 meters in size.

After the launch, the DART mission will drive its way to the asteroid over the progression of the year and lastly smashing into the exterior of the asteroid roughly around September 2022.