Asteroid Alert!!! NASA Warns Against A Massive 4km Wide Asteroid

James Marshall
March 31, 2020

However, the world's various space agencies are afraid of the other possible threats, such as asteroid strike on Earth in the future - the one that has the potential to end humanity. Fortunately, NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial ion engine, or NEXT-C for short, will get it there.

Space agencies are constantly trying to figure out ways of dealing with a "global killer" asteroid that may visit us in the future.

NASA and ESA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will head to Didymos, to knock Didymoon off course.

DART will be the first space mission to demonstrate asteroid deflection by kinetic impact, a technique that could prevent a hazardous asteroid from impacting Earth by changing the motion of the asteroid in space.

Astronomers call the object Asteroid 52768 (1998 OR2), and they're expecting it to make what the US-based space agency knows as a "close approach" of about 3.9 million miles (6.29 million km) from Earth, according to Express. The environmental testing verified that NEXT-C could withstand the extreme launch vibrations and temperatures of spaceflight.

To test DART, NASA wants to send it to the tiny binary asteroid system called Didymos, one that is not threatening the Earth. One of the asteroids is 789 meters in diameter, while the other one has only 160 meters. The goal of DART is to crash itself into the Didymoon since it is close to the typical size of an asteroid that could threaten the Earth. This zap sends the propellant-in the case of NEXT-C, that's xenon ions-to the second, negatively charged accelerator grid and then out of the engines as thrust.

DART is scheduled to launch in July, 2021. It's approximately three times more powerful than NASA's NSTAR ion drives on DAWN. The engine has two main components: the thruster and the power processing unit.

NEXT-C is able of producing 236 mN thrust and 6.9 kW of thrust power.

The small satellites will separate from DART before the impact at Didymos B. They are created to capture images of the impact and debris caused by the collision. Besides, DART will probably leave a 20-meter crater on the moon's surface, and if all goes well.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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