Could we really deflect an asteroid heading for Earth? An expert explains NASA's latest DART mission

Could we really deflect an asteroid heading for Earth? An expert explains NASA's latest DART mission

A NASA spacecraft the size of a golf cart has been directed to smash into an asteroid, with the intention of knocking it slightly off course. The test aims to demonstrate our technological readiness in case an actual asteroid threat is detected in the future. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) lifted off aboard a SpaceX rocket from California on November 23, and will arrive at the target asteroid system in September, next year. The mission will travel to the asteroid Didymos, a member of the Amor group of asteroids. Every 12 hours Didymos is orbited by a mini-moon, or “moonlet”, Dimorphos. This smaller half of the pair will be DART’s target. Are we facing an extinction threat from asteroids? We’ve all seen disaster movies in which an asteroid hits …
More on: theconversation.com