NASA, SpaceX launched a rocket to demonstrate the world’s first planetary defense system to protect Earth from future asteroid attack; will travel for 10 months and hit the asteroid at 15,000 miles per hour
NASA has successfully launched a space probe to change the course of an asteroid. The DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in California on Wednesday morning and blasted off at 1:21 AM EST (06:21 UTC), launching the world’s first mission to demonstrate the world’s first planetary defense system, designed to deflect an asteroid from a potential collision with Earth.
The DART spacecraft is on a test mission to see if it can deflect the path of an asteroid which, at this point, is no threat to our planet. The launch is part of NASA’s mission to practice planetary defense in case we need to defend Earth from asteroids in the future.
According to NASA, it will take 10 months to travel the 6.8 million miles to reach a moonlet called Dimorphos and the collision will not take place until September-October 2022. The spacecraft will then collide with the asteroid at 15,000 miles per hour. The DART payload is about the size of a vending machine.
NASA said it hopes that the collision will alter the asteroid’s course, proving that rockets can be used to deflect large objects likely to hit Earth. Dimorphos is 6.8 million miles (11 million km) from Earth, and the journey will take the craft 10 months.
Below is a video of the launch.
Asteroid Dimorphos: we're coming for you!
— NASA (@NASA) November 24, 2021