NASA is going to try to change the path of an asteroid in hopes of being able to save Earth from destruction some day.
First off, NASA wants us to know that currently there are no asteroids heading toward Earth. For this experiment on trying to change the path of an asteroid, they have picked out an asteroid they can observe but poses no threat to Earth.
The project is called DART, which stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. DART is NASA’s first attempt to demonstrate the technology to deflect an asteroid. DART will use an unmanned spacecraft that hopefully will hit the targeted asteroid head-on. The energy of the collision will change the movement of the asteroid, according to NASA modeling.
The chosen asteroid is called Dimorphos. Dimorphos is about 525 feet wide and orbits around a larger asteroid called Didymos. Dimorphos is around six million miles from Earth. NASA chose this asteroid because Earth-based and sky-based observing instruments like telescopes will be able to watch the collision and the resulting change in orbit.
NASA doesn’t foresee a large enough asteroid to cause large destruction on Earth in the next century, but they want to be prepared if and when a devastating Earth collision could occur.