The DART, or Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is seen in the sky during the sunrise on November 23, 2021.
A test run should be needed to stop a giant space rock from wiping out life on Earth.
The DART is a real proof-of-concept experiment that was launched from a Space Force Base in California on Tuesday night.
Dimorphos is a "moonlet" that is around 525 feet wide and circling a larger asteroid called Didymos, which is about the size of two Statues of Liberty.
The closest point to Earth for the pair of rocks will be in the fall of 2022, when they are 6.8 million miles away.
The first of its kind, the $330 million project, is being led by NASA's top scientist, Thomas Zuburchen.
There is no threat to our home planet from the asteroids in question.
Near-Earth objects are asteroids and comets that approach our planet within 30 million miles.
The potential to level entire cities or regions with many times the energy of average nuclear bombs is what NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office is most interested in.
There are 10,000 known near-Earth asteroids, but none have a chance to hit in the next 100 years. Only about 40 percent of the asteroids have been found to date.
NASA's DART mission will attempt to crash a small craft into a mini-asteroid to see if it can change its trajectory to avoid potentially dangerous asteroids in the future.
15,000 mph kick.
A real world test is why planetary scientists want to use the results from labs to create models about how to divert an asteroid.
The DART probe, which is a box the size of a large fridge with limousine-sized solar panels on either side, will slam into Dimorphos at just over 15,000 miles an hour.
The Didymos-Dimorphos system can be measured with telescopes on the Earth, so they are an ideal natural laboratory for the test.
The impact is scheduled to take place between September 26 and October 1, 2022, but their orbit never intersects our planet.
The current orbital period is 11 hours and 55 minutes, and the team expects the kick to shave 10 minutes off Dimorphos' orbit.
The moonlet's internal composition and porosity are unknown, so there is some uncertainty about how much energy will be transferred.
The more debris is generated, the more push will be given to Dimorphos.
Rivkin said that they find stuff they don't expect when they show up at asteroids.
The artist's illustration was obtained from NASA on November 4, 2021.
The Italian Space Agency's Light Italian CubeSat for the study of asteroids is one of the sophisticated instruments in the DART.
The trajectory of Didymos could be affected, but it would not change its course or endanger Earth.
The technique that is the most ready with current technology is thekinetic impactor, and it isn't the only way to divert an asteroid.
Other theories include flying a spaceship close to impart a small force.
In the films Armageddon and Deep Impact, a nuclear blast close by creates many more dangerous objects.
asteroids strike once every 20,000 years, according to scientists.
The asteroid that hit 66 million years ago led to the extinction of the dinosaurs, and it occurs every 100 to 200 million years.
The asteroid was retrieved from the news atphys.org on November 23, 2021.
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