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NASA launches DART: It will defend against Potential Asteroid or Comet Hazard


Published on: November 26, 2021,

Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is world’s full scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazard. DART was launched Wednesday at 1:21 am on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. It will change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be measured using ground based telescopes. DART will show a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to target asteroid and intentionally collide with it. With this test important data will be provided to prepare for an asteroid that might pose threat to earth.

“DART is turning science fiction into science fact and is a testament to NASA”s proactivity and innovation for the benefit of all. It will study our home planet and will protect earth from hazardous asteroid if it is headed to Earth, “said NASA administrator Bill Nelson.

“We have not yet found any asteroid that’s threat to Earth but we continue to search for the sizable population that is still to be found. Our goal is to find possible impact so the asteroid can be deflected with a capability like DART. And it is possible with the technology we currently have,” said Lindley Johnson. DART will discover and characterize potential hazardous asteroid and comets that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit.

“It is an indescribable feeling to see something you’ve involved and turning the fantasy in papers into actual act. DART investigation and engineering teams have much work to do over the next year preparing for the main event. But tonight we celebrate,” said Andy Cheng, one of the DART investigation leads at Johns Hopkins APL and individual who came idea of DART. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


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