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Published on Dec 17, 2018
Earth moves through a dangerous neighborhood.
Astronomers estimate there are about 1,000 near-Earth asteroids larger than 1 kilometer—big enough to cause a global disaster. About 90 percent of them have been identified. Far less is known about smaller asteroids. All told, about 100 tons of extraterrestrial matter falls onto Earth every day, mostly in the form of harmless dust and an occasional meteorite.
NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will be the first ever space mission to demonstrate asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor on a binary asteroid target: the smaller asteroid of Didymos, called Didymos B. Didymos is Greek for "twin."
DART is directed by NASA and undertaken by a team led by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory with support from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Planetary Defense Coordination Office within NASA's Science Mission Directorate is the lead for planetary defense activities and is sponsoring this mission.
DART is planned to intercept the secondary member of the Near-Earth Asteroid Didymos binary system in October 2022.