Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

SpaceX will assist NASA's first-ever mission to redirect an asteroid

Lift off is set for 2021.
2049 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NASA has chosen SpaceX to help out on its first-ever attempt to deflect an asteroid. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will blast off on a Falcon 9 rocket in June 2021 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Its mission: To smash a satellite into the Didymos asteroid's small moon in a bid to knock it off its orbit. What sounds like the plot of a Michael Bay movie could turn out to be NASA's first line of defense against Earth-bound asteroids.

This is batting practice. But the stakes are still high: Failure could derail NASA's so-called "kinectic impactor technique," success will provide the crucial data that will inform its deployment against an actual asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

NASA plans to intercept Didymos when it's within 11 million kilometres (7 million miles) of our planet -- in comparison, the moon is 240,000 miles and the sun is 93 million miles away. According to the DART website, the probe won't reach its target until October 2022, upon which it will slam into Didymos' moon at a speed of nearly 13,500 mph (6 kilometers per second).

The total cost for the mission is expected at around $69 million including the launch service, which NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage. Fresh off the back of its successful Falcon Heavy launch and triple landing, SpaceX's involvement in DART sees its relationship with NASA evolving beyond its commercial payloads and resupply missions to the ISS. As usual, Elon Musk shared his reaction in a tweet: "Thanks on behalf of the SpaceX team. We ♥️♥️♥️ NASA!"

Source: NASA
Coverage: USA Today
In this article: asteroid, DART, elon musk, nasa, space, spacex, tomorrow
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
2049 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget’s guide to Home Entertainment

Engadget’s guide to Home Entertainment

View
The best outdoor security camera

The best outdoor security camera

View
After Math: Who turned the lights out?

After Math: Who turned the lights out?

View
Here's how Alexa learned to speak Spanish without your help

Here's how Alexa learned to speak Spanish without your help

View
Samsung's Galaxy Fold Premier Service debuts in the US

Samsung's Galaxy Fold Premier Service debuts in the US

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr