Dubbed the ‘real-life Armageddon mission,’ a spacecraft that will purposefully crash into a ‘hazardous’ asteroid is set to launch.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (or DART mission) will depart from Earth next month and carry out a universe-first manoeuvre in space less than a year later.
It’s hoped the rocket will be able to successfully change the course of a small moon orbiting a near-Earth asteroid, paving the way for us to be able to protect our planet from a potential asteroid collision in future.
Elon Musk-founded SpaceX will provide the Falcon 9 rocket, which will launch from the Vandenburg Space Force Base in California at 10:20pm Pacific Time on November 23.
For everyone in the UK, this will happen on November 24 at 5:20am GMT. Live coverage will air on NASA’s TV channel, app and website.
The November launch will be NASA’s ‘first full-scale demonstration’ of Earth-defending technology. In September 2022, the agency is set to re-test the asteroid deflection technology to see how it impacts the motion of a near-Earth object in space.
Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are asteroids and comets which orbit within 29 miles of Earth.
NASA and other space agencies are particularly focused on detecting and characterising ‘larger’ NEOs, some of which grow to a whopping 460 feet and over.