Durban – Senior officials from NASA took part in a talk recently to update the public about the DART spacecraft and its planned collision with an asteroid on Monday evening.
Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defence Officer at NASA said it was an exciting time in humanity, because not only did they have the knowledge about the asteroids, but the technology to support them as well.
DART – short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is a defence mission to test NASA’s capability of dealing with such circumstances.
The asteroid, Dimorphos, is not a threat to earth, NASA said.
Dimorphos is a 160 metre rock which orbits another bigger asteroid named Didymos.
NASA plans on crashing the DART spacecraft into Dimorphos to redirect its course.
“Looking at this event, DART, on Monday. These are exciting times not only for the agency but in space history and in the history of humankind quite frankly. The first time that we are able to demonstrate that we have not only the knowledge of the hazard posed by these asteroids and comets that are left over from the formation of the solar system, but also have the technology that we could deflect one from a course bound to impact the earth.
“This demonstration is extremely important to our future here on the earth,” Johnson said.
Live: Join senior leaders from NASA and @JHUAPL working on the #DARTMission, the world's first test of planetary defense. Preview mission milestones between now and impact with a non-threatening asteroid on Sept. 26. https://t.co/Icq23Hb49a
— NASA (@NASA) September 22, 2022
He said besides flight missions into space, NASA also needs to know what is “out there” as well as the nature of the objects.