NASA Plans To Deliberately Crash Spacecraft Into Asteroid

NASA is planning on their next upcoming trip that will be less about exploration and more about making a crash landing into an asteroid. The next NASA mission will send a small spacecraft on a collision course with an asteroid with the hopes of finding a way to divert asteroids from crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere. 

According to APL Planetary Chief Scientist Nancy Chabot asteroids have been hitting Earth for billions of years that isn’t something new, but a new development is using rockets to prevent possible future asteroid crashes. NASA will be implementing a Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) as a first-ever kind of planetary defense. 

NASA is planning the DART mission by November that will puta spacecraft on a collision course with an asteroid in September or October of next year. The spacecraft will fly at a speeding race of 15,000 miles per hour into a smaller asteroid and this will just be a test. 

The asteroid that will be experimented is not on a collision course towards the Earth but will get just close enough to have the spacecraft hit it to make a small change in its orbit that can be observed from Earth. Chabot explains that the impact of the crash will be a small nudge to deflect(not disrupt) the asteroid to change the future path. 

DART features an onboard navigation system but there are some issues concerning the lag of data between space and the space vehicle. The spacecraft will be relying on the onboard navigation system using photographs to focus on the target without control from anyone on Earth. The future mission will show whether this is a viable method of planetary defense that could be used to prevent future asteroid impacts.

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