NASA wants to smash a satellite into an asteroid on purpose, and it's all in the name of saving Earth from future catastrophic space rock collisions.

Yes, NASA is planning to deflect an asteroid in 2022. And no, this isn’t part of an Armageddon movie reboot (why mess with perfection after all). NASA has been in the news lately for dive-bombing an exploratory satellite into Saturn at the end of the Cassini mission, but don’t worry-we are not currently in any danger. The space agency is simply preparing a plan for the remote chance that an asteroid is found to be hurtling toward the Earth in the future. After all, it didn’t work out too well for the dinosaurs.

Did you know?

  1. NASA, and other space agencies, consider asteroids as a valid threat to world safety and monitor for any that could be within range for Earth impact.
  2. Based on historical records, there is no question there will be another impact—it is just a question of when it will happen.
  3. Outside of Hollywood we haven’t had the technology to redirect asteroids, but that might be changing with NASA’s DART.
  4. The DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) is an attempt to see if a small nudge can have a big change in an asteroid’s trajectory over time.
  5. The DART program will target Didymos A and Didymos B (B orbits A and is the specific target).
  6. These two asteroids are not a threat to Earth, but their orbital situation makes them an excellent test for a deflection system like DART.
  7. DART was originally designed as part of the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA).
  8. The combined initiative would be a partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.
  9. The future of the ESA part of the project is in doubt, but for now NASA intends to proceed on its own.
  10. The satellite must be finished by 2020 in order to be launched and intercept the Didymos asteroids at their closest point to earth in 2022.