Currently scheduled for November 23, the two space agencies will be launching SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket as part of their Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which involves “intentionally [crashing] the DART spacecraft into an asteroid to see if that is an effective way to change its course, should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future.”
The targeted asteroid is a binary type with two bodies dubbed Didymos, or “twin” in Greek. Didymos A is roughly 780 meters wide and is orbited by Didymos B, which itself measures roughly 160 meters across. The two are scheduled to pass by our planet in 2022 and swing back around in 2024, and on neither occasion are they on a collision course with Earth, but NASA and SpaceX believe the binary asteroid would make a good sample for testing. This said, NASA has so far identified 23 different objects that could potentially hit Earth over the next century, and so preparing for these events will be crucial.
Static fire test complete – targeting Tuesday, November 23 at 10:21 p.m. PT for Falcon 9’s launch of @NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 19, 2021
In other tech-related news, Ford and GM are planning to enter the microchip market in order to curb global supply shortages.