TITUSVILLE, Fla. - It sounds like it could be part of the plot from the movie Armageddon: NASA and several partners are exploring how to prevent an asteroid from slamming into the earth.
"It’s a really neat idea to go out, and whack a small asteroid next to a slightly larger asteroid to find out what happens," said Dale Ketcham, VP of Government and External Relations for Space Florida.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, known as DART, is scheduled for the end of November.
The spacecraft will blast off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and then travel for nearly a year to reach the asteroid.
"We’re sending a US satellite up to basically send a projectile into the asteroid and hit it at around 15,000 miles per hour," Ketcham explained.
Scientists will then watch what happens closely and whether the crash changes the speed of the asteroid’s orbit.
Ketcham says some people would rather put resources into exploring planets and deep space but this has become a priority.
"Collectively, the people who understand what’s going on out there, they think it’s very much worth our while to spend a heck of a lot of money to understand asteroids. Jupiter doesn’t pose a risk. Asteroids could give us all a very bad day," Ketcham said.
DART is expected to launch from the west coast on November 24.
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