The united states Double Asteroid Redirection Check (DART), the world’s very first mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet risks, will impact its focus on asteroid Dimorphos on September 26, NASA and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) mission planners told a press conference upon Monday.
“ While DART’s target asteroid is not a danger to our planet, this check will see if asteroid deflection using a kinetic impactor spacecraft is a viable way to respond to a future asteroid on a collision program with earth should one particular ever be discovered, ” NASA Science Mission Directorate Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said.
Dart is a first of its kind spacecraft that will automatically navigate to a target asteroid plus intentionally collide with it to change the asteroid’s motion in a manner that can be measured using ground-based telescopes, Zurbuchen said.
“ For the first time we are going to measurably change the orbit of a celestial body in the universe. Doing so has clear benefits in ensuring humanity’s ability to deflect any potential harmful asteroid in the future, ” APL Director Bobby Brown told reporters.
DART will provide important data to assist better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should a single ever be discovered, NASA said in a statement.