New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched its $330 million Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) probe at 1.21 am Eastern time on Tuesday (11:51 am IST Wednesday) from the Vandenberg US Space Force Base. It was carried aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The project is intended to test the space agency's ability to alter an asteroid's trajectory.

"Asteroid Dimorphos: we're coming for you! Riding a @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, our #DARTMission blasted off at 1:21 am EST (06:21 UTC), launching the world's first mission to test asteroid-deflecting technology," NASA tweeted on Wednesday (November 24).

Here's a look at NASA's plan to destroy the asteroid

How it will destroy asteroids?

At 1.21 am Eastern time (11.51 am IST) on Wednesday, the DART spacecraft lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from a launchpad in California. It will take 10 months to travel the 6.8m miles to asteroid Dimorphos and the collision will not take place until September-October 2022.

Dimorphos is a football-field-sized asteroid that closely orbits a bigger asteroid, called Didymos. However, none of them pose a threat to Earth. NASA is simply undertaking some target practice with the Didymos system because its relative proximity to Earth makes it ideal to observe the results of the impact.

Before the crash, an Italian-made satellite called LICIACube will detach itself from DART and position itself nearby to send pictures and data back to Earth.

Why the need for DART?

NASA is crashing DART into an asteroid to test a method of planetary defense that could one day save a city, or maybe the whole planet, from a catastrophic asteroid impact.

As per the New York Times, "If all goes as planned with DART, NASA will have a confirmed weapon in its planetary defense arsenal. Should a different asteroid ever wind up on a collision course with Earth, the world’s space agencies would have confidence that an asteroid missile-like DART would shoo the space rock away."

What are DART's mission objectives?

According to NASA, DART’s Mission Objectives are:

1. Demonstrate a kinetic impact with Dimorphos.

2. Change the binary orbital period of Dimorphos.

3. Use ground-based telescope observations to measure Dimorphos’ period change before and after impact.

4. Measure the effects of the impact and resulting ejecta on Dimorphos.

How can you watch the launch?

NASA hosted a live stream of the launch on its YouTube channel. You can go to nasa.gov/nasalive to watch the launch. Meanwhile, currently, there are over 25,000 Near Earth Objects and no known asteroid larger than 140 meters in size has a significant chance of hitting Earth for the next 100 years.

Posted By: Sugandha Jha