Last week SpaceX managed to land all three rockets used to launch its Falcon Heavy spacecraft. Now the firm has a new mission that flies in the face of its latest accomplishment.
That mission? Fly a rocket headlong into an asteroid.
This isn’t some fanciful mission dreamed up by Elon Musk following a stint on the Joe Rogan Experience, but rather NASA’s own Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission.
The mission will see a spacecraft collide with an asteroid at high-speed in a bid to deflect it from its current course. The technique is known as “kinetic impactor” and will cost NASA approximately $69 million.
SpaceX has been selected as the firm which will provide launch services for the mission.
The mission itself is set to launch in June 2021 from the Vandenburg Air Force Base where a Falcon 9 rocket will be sent skyward on a suicidal mission.
“By using solar electric propulsion, DART will intercept the asteroid Didymos’ small moon in October 2022, when the asteroid will be within 11 million kilometers of Earth,” NASA said.
So while we aren’t in any sort of immediate danger, the idea behind DART is to prepare for when we are.
The goal of DART is to bring down the time it takes for humanity to react to impending doom by way of asteroid. A report by The Next Web reveals that it would take two years for humanity to deflect an asteroid according to a prediction by the National Academy of Sciences.
Will DART work? Well we don’t know but it seems like a good idea. That having been said, this is coming from a descendant of a species that once thought the world was flat so, take that with a grain of salt.
Come October 2022 however, we’ll find out if ramming a rocket into an asteroid is the best way to save humanity.[Source – NASA] [Image – CC 0 Pixabay]