NASA rules out a collision between any known asteroid and Earth in the next 100 years, despite the fact that has planned launch the DART mission, a project to test the technology necessary to avoid a possible collision with our planet.
This was pointed out to the agency EFE software engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Luis Rodriguez, in charge of DART’s front cameras. “There is no known asteroid that will hit us” in a century, said Rodríguez, who, however, considered important “be prepared”Given the low probability that this will happen beyond the next 100 years.
For this reason, NASA plans to launch the spacecraft into space this Tuesday at 22:21 local time (6:21 GMT). Dart from the Space Force Base in Vandenberg, California (USA).
The mission is unprecedented, as the objective is to collide with an asteroid to divert it from its orbit in order to test the technology that would be necessary to avoid a collision with Earth.
This mission, according to Rodríguez, is fundamental to NASA’s planetary defense strategy, which studies, analyzes and measures all near-Earth asteroids and their trajectories to understand and reduce the danger of a possible impact.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft It will head towards the asteroid Didymos and its small moon, Dimorphos, which will be the target of the impact to alter its orbit.
Once DART collides with Dimorphos, NASA will examine the changes in its orbit around Didymos to evaluate if the method is viable to defend the Earth, in case some asteroid represents a threat to the planet in the future.
For the impact to be effective, DART will travel at about 6 kilometers per second, an “incredibly fast” speed and necessary for the collision to alter Dimorphos’ trajectory “a little”, about the size of the George Washington Monument – an obelisk of 47.2 meters high located in the capital of the United States, but with greater volume, said Rodríguez.
At that speed, a trip between Los Angeles and New York, on the two coasts of the United States, it would take 10 seconds, although DART is not expected to collide with Dimorphos until October 2022.
Mission data, according to NASA, will be combined with mission data Hera, of the European Space Agency and planned between 2024 and 2026 to analyze in more detail the asteroids and the crater that DART will leave in Dimorphos.
(With information from EFE)
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