Just as if it were an elaborate script for a science fiction movie, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing to divert the course of an asteroid, in order to test a technology that would avoid an eventual danger to Earth.
With the mission called DART, NASA seeks to study a new technology that allows it to deflect asteroids that threaten to hit Earth. Basically it is a kinetic impact that is nothing more than a deliberate crash against the asteroid.
“Upon discovery, asteroids get a temporary name until we know their orbits well enough to know that they will not be lost. Once the Didymos system was identified as the ideal target for the DART mission, we had to formally distinguish between the main body and the satellite, “explained Andy Rivkin, research astronomer and co-director of DART research at the Johns Hopkins Laboratory of Applied Physics (APL), who builds and manages the mission for NASA.
The mission will launch in 2022, and it already has its first objective. It is the asteroid Dimorphos, a small Moon, which although it does not represent a latent danger will serve to be the object of study.