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.
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.
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.