DART will be targeting the binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos, which measures roughly 800 meters across.
Despite an admission a year ago that it may be impossible to stop the 8.8 ton asteroid Bennu from annihilating life on Earth, the perennial optimists at NASA have nevertheless granted SpaceX a $ 69 million contract to assist in the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), meant to save Earth from interstellar armageddon. However, NASA is already planning to destroy that asteroid beforehand and now it has roped in Elon Musk's SpaceX in its plan too.
Come October 2022 however, we'll find out if ramming a rocket into an asteroid is the best way to save humanity.
What's The Objective Of The DART Mission?
'The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera and sophisticated autonomous navigation software, ' NASA says. The mission, if everything goes as per plan, will smash a satellite into the asteroid Didymos's small moon by October 2022 at a speed of almost 13,500mph. The mission switched to dedicated launch many months ago.
Also, the mission has another target as well. AIDA will begin as soon as a spacecraft from DART purposefully crashes into the moon of the asteroid Didymos.
So far, NASA and ESA have not identified any potentially risky space rocks that pose a catastrophic threat on Earth in the near future.
Sara Mazrouei, a planetary scientist from the University of Toronto, said spotting asteroids on collision with Earth is a "game of probabilities".
The goal of DART is to bring down the time it takes for humanity to react to impending doom by way of asteroid.
NASA is testing a new way to defend Earth from asteroid strikes.
Furthermore, NASA explained that no asteroid can be shot down in the last few minutes or hours before impact because the velocity of an asteroid is at an average of 12 miles per second. It could depend on the choice of method for impact mitigation, and also on the orbit of the asteroid, its composition, bulk properties, and relative velocity, NASA said.