Science

NASA and SpaceX team to test asteroid tech that prevents extinction events

NASA and SpaceX team to test asteroid tech that prevents extinction events”

The total cost for the DART mission to launch including mission-related costs and other related services amounts to $69 million.

NASAs Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage the SpaceX launch service.

NASA's DART spacecraft's launch window range begins in late December 2020 and runs through May 2021. As the DART mission will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket, it's a relatively cheaper price compared to past NASA contracts for Falcon 9 launches.

NASA today awarded SpaceX a $69 million contract to redirect an asteroid off its intended path.

"SpaceX is proud to continue a successful partnership with NASA to perform this important interplanetary mission", said SpaceX President Gwynn Shotwell in a statement.

Telescopes here on Earth will keep watch to document how the collision will affect the smaller asteroid and its orbit around the 2,540-foot-wide (775 meter-wide) Didymos. In the experimental mission, the spacecraft will use an electric rocket engine to fly to the asteroid Didim (Didymos). The mission is directed by NASA to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory with support from NASA centers such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Johnson Space Center. SpaceX will be handling launch duties with its Falcon 9 rocket, which will launch from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at some point in June 2021. But the stakes are still high: Failure could derail NASA's so-called "kinectic impactor technique", success will provide the crucial data that will inform its deployment against an actual asteroid on a collision course with Earth. 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.



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