NASA's DART mission launches to try to change the course of asteroids

A SpaceX rocket launched Wednesday as NASA attempts a mission that could change the course of asteroids.

Posted: Nov 24, 2021 7:31 PM

CALIFORNIA - NASA is doing a mission to try and change the course of asteroids in our solar system.

The Falcon 9 rocket has a special paylod that will crash into the asteroid to try and change its course, something that has never been done before.

Action News Now takes a deep dive into this mission to show what we can expect from this daring mission.

It's a scenario straight out of a disaster movie like Armageddon, an asteroid barreling towards earth, threatening our entire civilization and we have no way to stop it.

But now, scientists at NASA have come up with a plan, the DART mission, which stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test.

It's a planetary defense system, where the goal is to launch a probe on a direct collision course with an asteroid in an attempt to change its course trajectory. It's something that's never been done before.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenburg Space Force Base in California just after midnight on Wednesday and is carrying a very special paylod, the DART probe.

Now that the rocket has left our atmosphere, it will release the probe for its long journey of nearly seven million miles.

It's a journey that's projected to take 11 months, with an estimated arrival of September 2022.

Once it arrives, the DART probe navigation software will take direct aim at a moonlet of the didymous asteroid.

The probe is projected to make an impact with the 160-meter moonlet at a speed of 4.1 miles per second.

NASA scientists will be able to monitor the impact from telescopes here on earth to see if the course trajectory has been altered.

A successful mission would mean the impact does impact the course of the moonlet.

This is something that has never been done before and the reason why that's such a big deal is that it means we'll finally have an answer of what to do if an asteroid does take aim at our planet.

Now that the probe has been launched, we just have to wait 22 months to see if this mission is successful.

It's a very intriguing and exciting mission, but we just have to be patient to see if it's a success.

The DART project cost a total of $365 million, with $300 million of that used on developing the rockets necessary for the mission. The other money was used for the satellite itself.

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