NASA' Planetary Defence Coordination Office is developing the test of a technology that could be further developed to prevent asteroid impacts. Scientists are reworking on the test which has been termed as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) on the Didymos asteroid system.
According to the scientists, it might help prevent asteroids travelling in close proximity to the Earth and might pose a natural hazard.
Asteroids approaching the Earth is not something new and occur most days. Asteroids being natural objects orbit the Sun. Some of them, however, travels past the Earth and might sometimes prove to be hazardous.
Larger objects which are not destroyed in the atmosphere might possess destructive effects when they hit the ground. The consequences of the effects might be local, regional or global, depending on the size of the object. The aim of the asteroid deflection is to change the course of the asteroid's path enough so that it either arrives late or early and misses the Earth.
The goal is to find hazardous asteroids years in advance. However, DART alone will not do that. There is a worldwide system of telescopes which are operated by NASA and other organisations which helps to detect near-Earth asteroids.
The test might be conducted in 2022, however, the date has not been fixed yet, reports NASA. If fully funded and carried out the mission will be NASA's alone, however, the spacecraft will be built and operated by JHU APL.
DART is all set to become NASA's first experiment on kinetic impactor technique, according to NASA's Planetary Defence Officer, Lindley Johnson.
The tests will be first conducted on non-threatening asteroids which are usually smaller in size. The target of the DART test is comparable in size to the most common objects that are large enough to be dangerous, reports NASA. Didymos will be close to Earth when the test is carried out.
DART has been in formulation for several years. The project was in its preliminary design stage in June 2017. Andy Cheng, one of the leaders of the Johns Hopkins team stated that DART can be extremely useful in deviating the asteroid into a different flight path altogether without causing any harm to the planet.
Asteroids, ranging between 5 to 50 meters in diameter swayed past Earth on Sunday, November 5. The major motive of this mission is to test one technology that will be helpful in preventing an impact, reports NASA.