NASA Is Going To Try To Knock An Asteroid Off Course To Save Earth

It’s the first-ever planetary defense test.

A mile-wide asteroid will pass Earth on Saturday. (Getty)
Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF

For the first time ever NASA is going to attempt to knock an asteroid out of orbit as part of a planetary defense test.

The probe designed to smack the asteroid off course is set to launch between 2020 and 2021, reaching the asteroid by October 2022, Thrillist reports.

The probe will travel at about 4 miles per second.

NASA has teamed up with the European Space Agency (ESA) to try to knock an asteroid known as Didymoon out of its orbit around a larger asteroid named Didymos. The Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART) project involves landing a probe on the asteroid then measuring the “momentum transfer” by investigating the crater left on the asteroid’s surface by the probe.

The researches selected a space rock that is about the size of the Great Pyramid in Giza (the smallest asteroid a probe will land on) and seven million miles away from Earth so, there’s no need to panic just yet.

“We will better understand whether this technique can be used even for larger asteroids, giving us certainty we could protect our home planet if needed,” ESA’s Hera project scientist Michael Küppers explained in a statement.

NASA revealed plans for the mission in 2018, however the ESA just announced their plans to team up to work on critical follow-up research.

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