There have been many stories over the years of how asteroids have come close to hitting Earth. The most recent was actually last month where the trajectory saw the asteroid pass over Antarctica within 1,800 miles of Earth, which makes it one of the closest encounters we’ve had to date.
However, what if one day an asteroid’s trajectory was to collide with Earth, what then? That’s something we probably shouldn’t wait to figure out, which is why SpaceX and NASA are working together to test its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) program tomorrow on the 23rd of November at 10:21pm PT.
NASA will intentionally crash the DART spacecraft into an asteroid to see if that is an effective way to change its course, should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 19, 2021
This is where a spacecraft will be intentionally launched into an asteroid to see if the crash will be effective enough to change the path of an asteroid should one day it ever finds itself in a path headed directly towards Earth. The actual crash itself won’t take place tomorrow, but rather on the 2nd of October, 2022 which is when the spacecraft is expected to intercept the binary asteroid known as Didymos.
Now, keep in mind that Didymos was never an asteroid that was bound for Earth to begin with, but rather it was chosen as the test subject for DART. To date, NASA has already identified at least 23 objects that could potentially collide with our planet in the next 100 years, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.