SpaceX will assist NASA's first-ever mission to redirect an asteroid

DART Didymos

SpaceX will assist NASA's first-ever mission to redirect an asteroid

DART is set to be the first space mission "to demonstrate asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor on a binary asteroid target". The mission costs $69 million.

NASA's DART spacecraft's launch window range begins in late December 2020 and runs through May 2021. At an astonishing cost of £53 million ($69 million) the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will look to divert any asteroid which threatens the earth's atmosphere. Another Falcon 9 launch, the Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite, was awarded in 2016 with a price of $112 million.

"SpaceX is proud to continue our successful partnership with NASA in support of this important interplanetary mission". "This award underscores NASA's confidence in Falcon 9's capability to perform critical science missions while providing the best launch value in the industry". According to the DART website, the probe won't reach its target until October 2022, upon which it will slam into Didymos' moon at a speed of almost 13,500 mph (6 kilometers per second).

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There are some disasters the world just isn't prepared for, and one of those is an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

DART is a project developed in the applied physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University in the framework of NASA on planetary defense. DART's intercept with Didymos' little moon is expected to occur in early October 2022, At that time Didymos and its moon will be within 11 million kilometers (6,835,083 miles) of Earth, a flawless distance for observations be telescopes.

The space agency added: "The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera and sophisticated autonomous navigation software". The planned DART launch will happen in June 2021 using a Falcon 9 rocket, with the launch taking place at Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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