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NASA Launches Spacecraft To Deflect An Asteroid

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NASA has successfully launched a spacecraft to deflect an asteroid

The agency launched its  first ever ‘Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission’, (a.k.a DART),  from a U.S. Space Force base in California on Wednesday at 1:21 a.m. Eastern time. The launch was aired live on NASA TV.

Photo from Reuters (@Joe Skipper)

It is important to note that the spacecraft will make its way around the sun in order to crash into an asteroid called Dimorphos by next year. If the mission is successful, this will be a major milestone for humanity as this goes to show that we have the potential to slam into and redirect killer asteroids. 

Photo from Reuters (@Stephen Saux)

This mission will also tell us if colliding a spacecraft into an asteroid is enough to save Earth if ever a hazardous space rock will head towards earth.

NASA’s chief of planetary defense Lindley Johnson underlined, “We’re doing this work and testing this DART capability before we need it.” 

 “We don’t want to be flying an untested capability when we’re trying to save a population on the Earth’s surface,” he added. 

Photo from Pexels

The strike and the beam images will be recorded by cameras placed on the impactor and on mini-spacecraft released from DART about 10 days beforehand. Shifts within the moonlet’s orbit around Didymos will also be calculated by ground-based telescopes.

The DART project cost a whopping $330 million, and is considered to be one of NASA’s most ambitious science missions to date.

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Reuters (@Joe Skipper)

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