NASA Is About To Conduct Its First Real Planetary Defense Spacecraft

Like a scene straight out of Men in Black or the beloved Armageddon, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced its plans to commence real-world testing of its planetary defense system in the next couple of years. This is a major stepping stone for NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office and planet Earth.

Most researchers and space enthusiasts would agree, that it was an asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. For the uninitiated, asteroids still pose a major threat to all life on Earth. Even a moderately sized asteroid could lead to apocalyptic like events on earth leaving humans competing for resources on a Mad Max-like barren wasteland.

Dubbed as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART for short, the planned mission will send the DART spacecraft on a collision course with the non-threatening asteroid Didymos to test the spacecraft's ability to redirect the direction of the celestial object.

The Didymos asteroid is approximately 800 meters across and its secondary body or “moonlet” has a 150-meter size. This target is perfect because Didymos represents the size of the asteroid that is a more common threat to the planet Earth.

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