NASA announced that its effort to use a spacecraft to deflect an asteroid in outer space would launch in late November.
The DART mission, also known as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), will launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 1:20 a.m. EST on Nov. 24 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to a pair of asteroids known as the Didymos binary, NASA announced on Monday, Oct. 4.
DART will collide with one of the two asteroids, dubbed Didymoon, at a speed of around 13,500 mph on Oct. 2, 2022, according to the Daily Mail.
It will only modify Didymoon’s speed by a fraction of a percent, but it will be enough for NASA to measure the altered orbit.
This will provide useful information for future efforts to deflect asteroids.
Didymoon is about 524 feet broad and orbits Didymos, a considerably larger space rock around 2,559 feet across.
Didymoon approached Earth in 2003, reaching within 3.7 million miles of the planet.
Didymoon is the more likely of the two asteroids to collide with Earth, as there are more space rocks of this size that NASA and the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) have yet to discover.
Any near-Earth object (NEO) that approaches within 0.05 astronomical units (4.6 million miles) and measures more than 460 feet in diameter is considered “potentially hazardous” by NASA.
According to the U.S. space agency, there are slightly over 25,000 NEOs, but many more are still to be identified, Daily Wire reported.
“DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique, which involves sending one or more large, high-speed spacecraft into the path of an asteroid in space to change its motion,” NASA said in a statement.
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office and the Science Mission Directorate’s Planetary Science Division at NASA headquarters are in charge of the mission.