NASA plans to prevent potentially dangerous asteroids from flying to Earth, including throwing spacecraft at them until they disappear.
Crashing a spacecraft into a large rock is a method that most Kerbal space program players are undoubtedly familiar with, but the key difference here is that NASA did this deliberately. The mission is called DART, which means double asteroid redirection test (thank you, Living science), it will be the first demonstration of dynamic impact technology that changes the motion of asteroids.
For the purpose of the test flight, NASA’s target is a distant asteroid named Didymos, which is far from hitting the Earth. Nevertheless, Didymos’s main body is not actually the space rock that it wants to deviate from orbit. Didymos has a small satellite or sub-orbiting object that is about 160 meters in size and one kilometer from Didymos.
NASA said that the size of this asteroid is more likely to pose a major threat to the Earth than Didymos’s size of 780 meters, because there are more smaller rocks flying around, so it will try to make this smaller one. ‘S small satellite crashed out of orbit.
But only a small part-the DART spacecraft will knock the small satellite “one percent” away from its orbit around its main body.
NASA hopes this will be enough to allow telescopes on Earth to notice changes in the orbital period of small satellites.
If it works, we might make some action plans in case the asteroid ends up in the orbit of the light blue dot we call home.
The DART launch window is November 24, 2021, and sometime after that, the spacecraft will be launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. After launch, it will propel to the asteroid in one year, and finally smash into pieces on the asteroid’s surface around September 2022.
So, who wants to try to imitate the tasks in Kerbal?Or even better, take Asteroid flies back to earth from space, Just because you can.