NASA says that they are inviting media to come out and watch the upcoming launch of a spacecraft that they plan to crash into an asteroid headed towards earth.
The event is part of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission and the launch is expected to take place on November 23, 2021, at 10:20pm PST at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
“We’re doing this to have the ability to prevent a truly catastrophic natural disaster,” DART program scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, Tom Statler said, according to Technology Review.
Space engineers will be launching a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket the size of a small car towards an asteroid that’s the size of a football field in attempts to knock it off its course.
The rocket will be traveling at 15,000 miles an hour and will take around one year to reach its target. Space engineers are aiming at hitting the asteroid directly in the center to have the greatest amount of force for altering its orbit.
“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. Its target is the binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos and its moonlet,” NASA wrote on their website.
There will be an ESA’s Hera mission that will arrive on the scene five years later to observe the effects that the collision had on the asteroid.
“The possibility that Hera might find Dimorphos in a chaotic tumbling state is really interesting and really exciting,” Tom Statler said.