A NASA spacecraft prepares to deflect the trajectory of an asteroid

NASA’s goal is to crash an unmanned spacecraft into a mass of rock to try to redirect its course in space.

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On September 26, the eyes of millions of people around the world will be watching the DART spacecraft, a project created by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in which $330 million dollars were invested. and whose objective is to try to experimentally divert the trajectory of an asteroid.}

For five years, experts in aeronautical engineering and other areas of knowledge who work in NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office are focused on seeing the impact that the collision of an unmanned spacecraft against an asteroid will have.

Under this approach, The asteroid Dimorphos was chosen, located 11 million kilometers from Earth and against which the DART aircraft is intentionally crashed in the hope that it will redirect the mass of rock that circulates through space.

In this regard, this week Nancy Chabot, one of the main researchers in charge of the project, held a meeting with various media outlets to explain the objective of the ambitious mission.

“It is something truly historic. I’m excited that we’re moving on from something that was seen as fictional and we’re taking a step to make it more real. It is not to explode the asteroid into millions of pieces, but to give it a little push”, indicated the researcher.

The reason for the experiment derived from the fact that each year the number of asteroids that could at some point pose a risk of collision for the Earth increases.

At NASA, like other space research agencies, work is being done on the development of technology capable of protecting the planet.

In the case of Dimorphos, it is a small asteroid 160 meters in diameter that revolves around another larger one called Didymos. Both form a double asteroid system and although its distance does not put the Earth at risk, the researchers estimated that it could be used to carry out the experiment.

It should be noted that the most recent impact of an asteroid recorded on Earth occurred in 2013, when an object 20 meters in diameter ended up impacting a remote region of Russian territory.

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