What if an asteroid comes for us? Well, NASA has got your back. Here’s what NASA has to say about its DART Mission to protect Earth against asteroids.
Apocalyptic movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon and Don’t Look Up have always explored the ‘What Ifs’ of world destruction, with the most famous means of world destruction being asteroids crashing into Earth. But have you ever wondered what would happen if such an asteroid headed for Earth? Would our planet survive or would there be total annihilation?
Asteroids have been a common occurrence these past few months with more than 40 asteroids flying past Earth closely in the month of August alone. All of these asteroids, although classified as Potentially Hazardous Objects, passed by Earth at enough distance to not cause any harm. But the planet won’t be this lucky every time. Just last year, a massive 525 feet asteroid passed by Earth so closely that it left scientists panicking. So, what would happen if an asteroid came straight for us? Would it mean the end for all mankind?
NASA’s DART Mission to engage in planetary defense
NASA is readying itself to potentially defend the planet against the very threat posed by asteroids. A NASA mission is in the works to deflect an asteroid off the collision course with Earth by smashing a spacecraft into it at a staggering speed of 23,000 kmph. The mission is named Double Asteroid Detection Test or DART.
Double Asteroid Detection Test or DART Mission is a $240 million mission by NASA to protect the Earth from a potential asteroid impact. The aim of the mission is to smash a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid to deflect it away from its path. While this asteroid in no way threatens Earth, the NASA asteroid mission is to carry out an experiment to gain greater knowledge as to what happens when a craft is crashed against a space rock. This knowledge will be used if an actual asteroid threatens to crash against the Earth.
The DART mission has already sent the main spacecraft to space in November, 2021. It includes a satellite made by the Italian Space Agency. Another spacecraft is set to launch by 2026, to measure the impact. The DART spacecraft is set to collide with its target asteroid on September 26 this year.
According to NASA, “DART is the first-ever mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid’s motion in space through kinetic impact.”