The launch of NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission is scheduled for July 22, 2021. This is a demonstration mission that will help to understand whether it is possible to use a kinetic blow to deflect an asteroid from the Earth. She will head for a tiny binary asteroid system called Didymos (or Didymos 65803). This binary asteroid system poses no threat to the Earth.
The larger asteroid, Didymos A, is about 780 m in diameter, and the smaller, Didymos B, is about 160 m. DART will crash into Didymos B because it is close to the typical size of the asteroid that could threaten the Earth in the future.
DART will reach its goal on September 22, 2021, when the binary asteroid is within 11 million km. from the earth. And in order to get there, he will use a powerful ion engine – NASA’s evolutionary xenon accelerator. The engine consists of two main components: a thruster and a powerful processor. It has yet to be tested.
Earlier it became known that the asteroid SP1, approaching 70 to 160 m in length, was approaching Earth. NASA discovered the space object on September 19, the organization included it in the list of near-Earth. SP1 is as close as possible to Earth at 5.87 million km – 15 times greater than the distance to the moon.