Space.com reports on NASA’s wild new mission scheduled for November 23 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. And the launch will be via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The space agency is sending a NASA spacecraft to intentionally crash into an asteroid at 15,000 mph.
The mission dubbed the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is designed to help develop a defense plan. According to the NASA statement, we are learning how to divert any potentially dangerous asteroids or other objects from crashing into Earth. DART will enable scientists, “evaluation of technologies for preventing a hazardous asteroid from striking Earth.”
It will be the first time a kinetic impactor technique will be used. This involves “sending one or more large, high-speed spacecraft into the path of an asteroid in space to change its motion. This could deflect the asteroid into a different trajectory, steering it away from the Earth’s orbital path.”
After the NASA spacecraft craft separates from the Falcon, it will cruise space. After over a year of traveling nearly 7 million miles (11 million kilometers), it will reach the mission location.
NASA spacecraft heading to Didymos
The crash target is the binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos and its moonlet. A binary asteroid is when two space rocks move in tandem. And a crash here should pose no threat to the Earth.