NASA is concerned enough about the potential of the asteroid apocalypse to create the, a project that sounds straight out of a sci-fi action movie. The Space Agency has now chosen SpaceX as the main player.
NASA announced Thursday that it has been awarded a service contract to launch the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) with SpaceX. The launch is scheduled for June 2021 on a Falcon 9 rocket departing from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The total cost of launching DART is approximately $ 69 million (£ 53 million, A $ 96 million).
DART is designed to intercept a small moon of the Didymos asteroid at the end of 2022, when the rock is less than 11 million kilometers from Earth. The spacecraft will crush on the moonlet, nicknamed "Didymoon", in order to change course.
"The collision will alter the speed of the moon on its orbit around the main body by a fraction of a percent, enough to be measured with the help of telescopes on Earth," NASA said.
If DART succeeds, the same concept could possibly be used to move hazardous asteroids away from Earth before they cause significant damage.
The contract is another NASA victory for SpaceX, which is already at the heart of the development of aat the International Space Station. As cool as it sounds, breaking a spaceship into an asteroid is something extraordinary.
Originally released at 9:21 Pacific Time.