The mission will launch in 2022. In an unprecedented feat, NASA will use a method never seen before.
As if it were an elaborate script for a science fiction movie, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA is preparing to deflect the course of an asteroid that would endanger planet Earth.
Under the mission called DART, NASA seeks to study a new technology that allows it to deflect asteroids that threaten to hit Earth. Basically it is a kinetic impact that is nothing more than a deliberate crash against the asteroid.
In 2022, our DART mission will test a new asteroid deflection technology. The target — a small moonlet posing no threat to Earth — is now named “Dimorphos,” reflecting its status as the 1st celestial body to have the form of its orbit changed by humanity: https://t.co/DhPz9xjFZi pic.twitter.com/10WoWpzQwv
– NASA (@NASA) June 23, 2020
“Upon discovery, asteroids get a temporary name until we know their orbits well enough to know that they will not be lost. Once the Didymos system was identified as the ideal target for the DART mission, we had to formally distinguish between the main body and the satellite, “said Andy Rivkin, research astronomer and research co-director DART at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), who builds and administers the mission for NASA.
The mission will launch in 2022, and it already has its first objective. It is the asteroid “Dimorphos”, a small Moon, which although it does not represent a latent danger will serve as an object of study.
“Dimorphos means” two shapes “, as it reflects the status of this asteroid as the first celestial body to have the shape of its orbit significantly changed by human technology, this would be the case after the impact of DART,” explained Kleomenis Tsiganis, planetary scientist at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and member of the DART team.
Once the mission is implemented, NASA will study the behavior of the asteroid for two years.