The US National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) has successfully launched the spacecraft developed to test the technology that will change their trajectories by pushing asteroids at risk of hitting the Earth.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), developed by NASA to protect Earth from a future disaster, was sent into space from Vandenberg Space Force Base.
The mission of the space probe DART, realized with a $ 330 million project and launched by SpaceX’s “Falcon 9” rocket, is to deliberately crash into an asteroid moving close to Earth orbit, to change its rotation speed and direction of motion.
If all goes well, DART is expected to hit the 160-meter-diameter asteroid Dimorphos at a speed of about 24 thousand kilometres in September 2022.
Nancy Chabot of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, who led the project, said: “This impact will not destroy the asteroid. It will just give it a small touch.” said.
It has been recorded that Dimorphos, which revolves around a larger asteroid called Dydmos in 11 hours and 55 minutes, will slow down at the end of the collision, get closer to the large asteroid and move away from its current orbit for 10 minutes.
DART’s impact on the target asteroid will be visible through a telescope on Earth.
It will take ten months for DART to reach the asteroid pair. The collision will occur approximately 11 million kilometres from Earth.