Dart (double asteroid redirection test) aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Wednesday.
According to the BBC, the mission will be carried out on an asteroid named Dimorphs. Its diameter is 180 meters. This asteroid revolves around another large asteroid (60 m in diameter) called Didimos.
So if NASA succeeds in the mission called ‘Double Asteroid Redirection Test’ (DART), it will one day be able to avoid the collision of a dangerous asteroid and Earth and save mankind.
NASA says neither Dimorphus nor Didimos is a threat to Earth. But given the position of these two asteroids, this is the perfect place to test whether pushing a single asteroid by a spacecraft could change the course of the asteroid.
This push or collision will destroy the dart. But a week before the collision, Dart will launch a small satellite into space. And that satellite will send pictures of the post-conflict situation.
Darts, on the other hand, do not destroy asteroids, but may deviate slightly from orbit or change their orbital speed. Although this deviation or decrease in speed is very small, this experience will be useful enough for scientists to remove any asteroid or debris in the Earth’s orbit.