Humanity could face one less doomsday scenario if NASA has its way.
On Friday, the space agency announced plans to redirect the course of a small asteroid approaching Earth, as part of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), according to a NASA press release.
The release notes that asteroids hit Earth nearly every day, but most are small enough to burn up in the atmosphere.
But the DART project — a joint effort between NASA and the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland — is for the asteroids that are too big to break up — those that could have severe consequences for the Earth if they hit.
“DART would be NASA’s first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique — striking the asteroid to shift its orbit — to defend against a potential future asteroid impact,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer in Washington, in the press release.
“This approval step advances the project toward an historic test with a non-threatening small asteroid.”
The target of the test is an asteroid system called Didymos, the release said. Didymos — Greek for “twin” — is a binary asteroid system, made up of one asteroid, Didymos A, and a smaller one, Didymos B, which orbits its larger neighbor.
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SOURCE: CNN, Dakin Andone