NASA plans to test asteroid collision damage by creating one
Let’s start here: There is very little chance of an asteroid striking the Earth. While tiny rocks and dust enter the atmosphere daily, something the size of a football only comes along every 2,000 years or so.
On the other hand, it would be a very bad thing if it did happen.
So, while there’s no reason for you to worry about it, NASA is going to worry about it for you.
One of their ideas is that, if an asteroid were headed for the Earth, we might be able to knock it off course and away from us.
But that’s the kind of idea you might want to test before the time when you need to make it work.
So NASA is now setting up a collision with one of a pair of twin asteroids to see what will happen.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test craft designed for this demolition derby in space is about the size of a refrigerator and will be traveling about three times as fast as a bullet.
The asteroid chosen is about 530 feet across, and NASA doesn’t expect it to blow apart or go spinning out of the solar system.
But if the DART vehicle can disrupt its normal course even a little bit, that provides some confidence that, in the unlikely event a large asteroid were headed this way, NASA would be able to get it to miss.