How realistic is NASA’s planetary defense test of asteroid deflection?

On September 26, NASA will crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to interrupt its path. Space rock is not expected to collide with Earth, nor are any others known asteroid or large object. Impact is a test, the crux of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission. While there is no real impending collision, the DART mission closely mimics what NASA scientists would do if an asteroid headed towards Earth. The mission will also provide scientists with valuable data that will better prepare them to redirect a large asteroid or comet if one were to go towards us.

“It’s exactly the kind of mission we would use to actually deflect an asteroid,” Seth Jacobson, assistant professor of planetary science at Michigan State University and co-investigator of the mission, told Space.com.

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