What if an asteroid were going to hit Earth? There are no known threats to Earth, but planetary defense expert Dr. Kelly Fast says it’s important to find the asteroids before they find us. That’s why NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office keeps its eyes on the skies.
It’s important to find asteroids before they find us, in case we need to get them before they get us.
An asteroid impact is the only natural disaster that could be prevented. NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office supports projects to discover and track asteroids and to calculate their orbits far into the future.
The first order of business for planetary defense is to find the asteroids. If an asteroid impact threat is discovered years or decades in advance, then a deflection mission might be possible.
There are a few technologies and techniques that NASA is studying to deflect an asteroid on a course to impact Earth. NASA’s DART, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is a carefully planned demonstration that will help determine if kinetic impactor technology— impacting an asteroid to adjust its speed and path – can serve as a possible method of asteroid deflection in the event that Earth ever faces such a hazard.
DART will help us better prepare should an asteroid ever be discovered as a threat to Earth.