HomeAstronomyNASA's DART asteroid-impact mission will be a key test of planetary defense

NASA’s DART asteroid-impact mission will be a key test of planetary defense

When NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) slams into the tiny asteroid Dimorphos, it will be our first attempt to demonstrate our ability to deflect dangerous incoming asteroids.

For decades, scientists around the world have been scanning the sky, searching for potentially hazardous asteroids in the vicinity of Earth. And as astronomers discover near-Earth asteroids in ever greater numbers, attention is now turning toward how we might protect Earth should an asteroid on a collision course be discovered. One technique is brute force, and to test it, DART will collide with the 560-foot-wide (170 m) Dimorphos at 7:14 p.m. EDT (2314 GMT) on Sept. 26. 

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