boxy spacecraft flies toward space rock

NASA’s planetary defense mission will test asteroid deflection, but how realistic is it?

On September 26, NASA will crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to disrupt its trajectory. The space rock is not expected to collide with Earth, or any other known asteroid or large object. Impact is a test – the node of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) assignment. Although there is no real collision imminent, the DART mission closely mimics what NASA scientists would do if an asteroid were heading towards Earth. The mission will also provide scientists with valuable data that will better prepare them to redirect a large asteroid or comet if anyone was heading our way.

“This is exactly the kind of mission we would use to deflect an asteroid,” Seth Jacobson, assistant professor of planetary sciences at Michigan State University and co-investigator on the mission, told Space.com.


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