However some of the asteroids which could hit the Earth are bigger enough to damage the planet threatening the life. The DART project is a joint effort between NASA and the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. “DART would be NASA’s first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique – striking the asteroid to shift its orbit – to defend against a potential future asteroid impact,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer in Washington.
The target of the test is an asteroid system called Didymos. In fact, this is a binary asteroid system, made up of one asteroid, Didymos A, and a smaller one, Didymos B, which orbits its larger neighbor. NASA prepares for action in October 2022, when Didymos makes an approach near Earth. NASA will launch a refrigerator-sized spacecraft towards the asteroids, aimed at Didymos B. When the DART spacecraft and the asteroid collide, the spacecraft will be traveling at a staggering 3.7 miles per second. “The kinetic impact technique works by changing the speed of a threatening asteroid by a small fraction of its total velocity,” the release says, “but by doing it well before the predicted impact so that this small nudge will add up over time to a big shift of the asteroid’s path away from Earth.” Scientists will study the impact to determine whether this technique is a feasible method for saving the planet from asteroids.