How NASA Is Working to Redirect Asteroid 7 Million Miles Away With DART Program
“It’s really important to say upfront that ‘t’ is for test. These are not actually asteroids that are a threat to the earth. We are doing this now to be ready before we need to," DART coordination lead Nancy Chabot says.
Could a large asteroid hit the earth? That’s the premise of the Oscar-nominated movie “Don’t Look Up” — the second most popular movie ever on Netflix.
Hollywood has explored planet-killer asteroids before, in blockbusters like “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact.”
In real life, asteroids hit the earth all the time, but they mostly just burn up in the atmosphere.
Sometimes, they make a deeper impact, like when an asteroid slammed into Russia in 2013. Over 1,000 people were injured, and it caused widespread damage.
For NASA, it's not science fiction. Last November, the space agency launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission or DART.
“It is the first of its kind to do this full scale test of asteroid deflection on an asteroid of a size that we might be worried about in the future,” Dr. Nancy Chabot, coordination lead on the DART mission, told Inside Edition. “It’s really important to say upfront that ‘t’ is for test. These are not actually asteroids that are a threat to the earth. We are doing this now to be ready before we need to.”
DART is currently in space heading for a collision course to an asteroid named Dimorphos about 7 million miles away. It’s mission is to crash into the asteroid in Sept. 2022 with the goal of shifting it off course just a smidge.
“The strategy is not to blow up the asteroid. All you want to do is give it a tiny little nudge, and that tiny nudge ends up to be a big change in its future position with time,” Chabot said.
Chabot says there are “no known asteroids that are cause for concern at this time.”
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