I have been on several radio talk shows recently discussing the threat that asteroids pose to Earth.
People always ask how we can protect ourselves against an impending asteroid impact.
The honest answer today is that we can’t. So, if there’s a large asteroid heading our way soon, kiss your ass goodbye.
We have no device or technology ready for launch to defend Earth against an asteroid.
We are in the infancy of Planetary Defense.
The first mission to test the concept of using a high velocity impactor to nudge an asteroid into a different orbit is call DART.
DART stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. DART is planned for launch in July 2021 and will intercept Didymos B or Didymoon in late September 2022.
Didymoon is a small moonlet about 550 ft in diameter that orbits around a larger asteroid called Didymos which is 2,550 ft. in diameter.
DART will not blow up or destroy Didymoon. The hope is that the DART impactor will change the speed of moonlet’s orbit around the larger asteroid by a fraction of a percent.
This will change the orbital period of the moonlet by several minutes – enough to be observed and measured.
Watch the video to learn about DART from the people running the mission: