What you need to know about NASA’s DART mission to deflect an asteroid

3. There is no risk for the Earth

Artist's impression of the DART spacecraft with its solar panels deployed.

Artist’s impression of the DART spacecraft with its solar panels deployed.
Picture: Nasa

When DART arrives at Didymos in 11 months, the spacecraft will be 6.8 million miles (11 million km) from Earth, according to at NASA. Didymos, which means “twin” in Greek, measures 780 meters in diameter, while Dimorphos, which means “two forms” in Greek, is 160 meters in diameter, a little less than two football fields in length.. The moon, also known as Didymoon, orbiting Didymos, encircling it once every 11.9 hours.

To be clear, neither Didymos nor Dimorphos present a risk to the Earth. They are safe now, and they will not be after the redirect test. NASA chose this particular system because it was found to be ideal for testing purposes. The smash-up “will change the speed of the moon in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of a percent, but it will change the orbital period of the moon by several minutes – enough to be observed and measured at the using telescopes on Earth “like NASA Explain.

As it stands, no known asteroids the size of Dimorphos or more has a significant chance of hitting Earth in the next 100 years. The problem, however, is with potentially dangerous objects that suddenly appear out of the blue. Such was the scenario of this year asteroid impact simulation, in which the participants were informed of a fictional 460ft wide (140m wide) asteroid with 100% chance of hitting Earth in just six months. This left them very little time to react and prepare. Asteroids of this size would inflict severe damage within a radius of 120 miles (200 kilometers wide) if they hit Earth.

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