Asteroid strike on Earth? NASA DART mission all fired-up

If you’ve ever wondered how we will protect ourselves against an asteroid strike on Earth, then know that NASA is all fired-up about it.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 13:08 IST
NASA DART mission is dsignd to prevent an asteroid strike on Earth. (NASA)
NASA DART mission is dsignd to prevent an asteroid strike on Earth. (NASA)

An asteroid strike on Earth will create the same situation that destroyed the planet and killed off all the dinosaurs. This time, humans will be at teh receiving end. There are very few options available to stop and asteroid strike on Earth. However, a NASA mission is in the works to deflect an asteroid off its collision course with Earth by smashing a spacecraft into it at a staggering speed of 23,000kph. The mission is named Double Asteroid Detection Test or DART. Check out how this NASA asteroid mission will pan out.

Apocalyptic movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon and Don't Look Up, which had iconic stars like Bruce Willis, Leonardo Di Caprio to Jennifer Lawrence in lead roles, have always explored the ‘What Ifs' of world destruction, with the most famous means of world destruction being asteroids crashing into Earth. Now, NASA is readying itself to potentially defend the planet against a very similar threat that is posed by asteroids.

The DART mission will cost a staggering $240 million. The aim of the mission is to smash a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid to deflect it away from its path. While this asteroid in no way threatens Earth, the NASA asteroid mission is to carry out an experiment to gain greater knowledge as to what happens when a craft is crashed against a space rock. This knowledge will be used if an actual asteroid threatens to crash against the Earth. It will help avert an Armageddon on Earth and perhaps, even save humanity from extinction.

Chief scientist at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, Andy Cheng, came up with the DART concept along with a senior researcher. Dr. Cheng said, “It feels very exciting — like a dream come true — for something we've been thinking about for 20 years to be actually happening."

The DART mission has already sent the main spacecraft to space in November, 2021. It includes a satellite made by the Italian Space Agency. Another spacecraft is set to launch by 2026, to measure the impact.

NASA said, "DART is the first-ever mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid's motion in space through kinetic impact.”

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First Published Date: 21 Jun, 11:22 IST