09:32 GMT05 December 2020
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    NASA intends to test a new type of technology to protect the Earth from asteroids. In a press release, the space agency reported that the technology is called DART and it is based on a kinetic impact on the asteroid.

    According to the report, the blow to the space rock should deflect the orbit of the asteroid and secure the Earth from a catastrophic collision.

    According to the agency’s press release, DART will be the first NASA mission which will demonstrate the so-called kinetic strike technology.

    It will be put to test on an asteroid called Didymos, which will fly around the Earth in October 2022 and in 2024. 

    These tests will determine whether DART technology is effective for protecting the Earth from the destructive power of the asteroids.

    The general director of a non-profit partnership, the "Center of Planetary Protection," Anatoly Zaytsev, said in an interview with Sputnik radio said that the given technology proposed by NASA will only be effective only if asteroids will are discovered long before contact with Earth.

    "The mass of the kinetic drummer [in the apparatus] is incomparably less than the mass of the asteroid over which the impact will be struck by thousands and maybe even millions of times. Therefore, the momentum that an asteroid will acquire will have a small value: a millimeter per second or centimeter per second,” Zaytsev said.

    It means that the impact of DART will be quite insignificant on the asteroid. This method has its limitations and it can only be used if a dangerous object is detected at least a few years before a possible collision with the Earth.

    “With such a small deviation speed, it is not an easy task to drive asteroids thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of kilometers away from our planet " Anatoly Zaitsev said.

    In his view, a more effective way to eliminate the danger to the Earth from space objects is to use a nuclear explosion.

    “In principle, instead of an impactor one can use a nuclear device. The effectiveness of the method, in general, will increase: it will not use a kinetic impact, but a nuclear explosion, which is much more effective,” the scientist said. 

    “However, it will be designed not for deviation, but for the destruction of the asteroid,” he added.

    Zaytsev also feels that it would be prudent to protect the Earth from dangerous space objects by creating an international monitoring system.

    Over the past year, astronomers have discovered about 150 asteroids that flew in the sphere of gravity of the Earth. The radius of this sphere is about one million kilometers. 

    “Every week in the sphere of gravity of the Earth, two or three asteroids fly by. If we do not seriously deal with this problem, then, in the end, something like the Chelyabinsk meteorite event or even worse can occur” Zaytsev concluded.


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