NASA will crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to try to divert its trajectory

This test worthy of a science fiction movie should allow us to better protect humanity against a possible threat.

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Quest Codename: Dart (“dart” in English).NASA will try, on the night of Monday, September 26 to Tuesday, September 27, to divert the trajectory of an asteroid by projecting a kamikaze ship on it. this test of “planetary defense”not without evoking the movies Don’t Look Up: Cosmic Denial either Armageddonshould allow humanity to be better protected against a possible threat.

The Dart mission took off in November from California. After ten months of travel, the spacecraft is due to collide with the asteroid Dimorphos at 1:14 am (French time), at a speed of more than 20,000 km/h. The craft is no bigger than a car and its target is about 160m in diameter. That is half the height of the Eiffel Tower.

Dimorphos does not pose a threat to Earth in any way: its orbit around the Sun passes only seven million kilometers from us. but the mission “it is important to realize before discovering a real need”said Andrea Riley, head of the Dart mission at NASA.

The moment of impact promises to be spectacular and can be followed live through the video channel of the American agency. It is not about destroying the asteroid but about pushing it slightly. The objective is to see how Dimorphos will react, in particular according to its porosity, that is, if it is more or less compact.

Very few of the known asteroids are considered potentially dangerous, and none will be in the next 100 years. If Dart misses her target, the ship should have enough fuel for another attempt in two years.

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