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NASA aims to redirect asteroid next week in first planetary defense test

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HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — NASA’s asteroid redirection test is scheduled to make impact next week.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, is a first-of-its-kind planetary defense test used to redirect an asteroid if it were on a collision course with Earth, a post by NASA stated.

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NASA is targeting an asteroid named Dimorphos, which is not a threat to Earth. NASA called the asteroid a “perfect testing ground” to see if crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid will change its course.

Dimorphos is a 525-foot moonlet asteroid that is orbiting a larger asteroid named Didymos.

DART, which was built by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, will have a spacecraft intentionally collide with the asteroid, a method referred to as kinetic impact.

“While no known asteroid larger than 140 meters in size has a significant chance to hit Earth for the next 100 years, only about 40 percent of those asteroids have been found as of October 2021,” the post stated.

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The DART spacecraft launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket on November 23, 2021.

The spacecraft is expected to make impact with the asteroid on Sept. 26, colliding with Dimorphos at a speed of 4 miles per second. NASA will be live streaming coverage of the DART collision on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube beginning at 5 p.m. CST

Impact is expected to take place at 6:14 p.m. ET.

At the time of the impact, the asteroid will be roughly 6.8 million miles from Earth.

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