NASA is about to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid
Dimorphos is a lump of space rock so far away from Earth that we don’t even know what it looks like — and on Monday, we’re going to smash it with a spacecraft.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will be traveling at more than 14,000 miles per hour when it hits the asteroid, in what has to be one of the most metal science experiments of all time.
As the tiny moonlet orbits the bigger asteroid, it passes between the bigger asteroid and Earth.
That might not seem like much, but for planetary defense scientists, those minutes are monumental.
This demonstration is extremely important to our future here on the Earth” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer, at a press briefing ahead of the mission.
This demonstration is extremely important to our future here on the Earth”.
DART is trying a more direct method first; crashing into it full speed ahead.
It’s not every day that scientists get to crash a $250 million spacecraft.
In addition to the observatories in space and on Earth that will be watching, DART’s own camera will be sending back images until the last minute, beaming them back to Earth so that people can watch as the mission reaches its dramatic conclusion.