NASA has launched a spacecraft that can potentially save Earth from asteroid impacts

The mission is called DART, and it was created with SpaceX.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), courtesy of NASA

NASA has launched a mission to protect the earth from potential asteroid showers called DART. It’s an acronym for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. This mission was launched in collaboration with SpaceX.

This technology was launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (pictured above) around 1:21 AM EST at the Vandenburg Space Force Base in California, USA. The primary objective of the test is to determine whether a space shuttle can redirect or ricochet an upcoming space rock or comet. If the tests are successful, then this new technology can be used to avert asteroids from impacting earth thus potentially saving millions of lives.

The test was live-streamed yesterday. The video above is a recording of the 2H stream so that viewers can watch it at any given time period.

“DART is turning science fiction into science fact and is a testament to NASA’s proactivity and innovation for the benefit of all,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “In addition to all the ways NASA studies our universe and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this test will help prove out one viable way to protect our planet from a hazardous asteroid should one ever be discovered that is headed toward Earth.”

The main target of the spacecraft is the moonlet Dimorphos, which is around 160m in diameter. This moonlet orbits around Didymos which is around 780m in diameter. The rocket will intentionally collide on these two asteroids at 6 kilometers per second and should the DART be successful, other space agencies may use the tech to develop their own planetary defensive measures, and prevent a catastrophic asteroid impact from hitting the earth.

To read the entire statement, please visit NASA’s website

To know more about the DART mission, please click this link.