11/24/11 by Callie Krosin
The DART spacecraft, shot for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, was launched on Tuesday night in a mission to smash into an asteroid. The test is to determine whether the DART would be able to deter a speeding asteroid from threatening Earth.
The lift-off was from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. If the test goes well, the DART will slam into Dimorphous at 15,000 mph.
DART’s collision with the asteroid will occur 6.8 million miles from Earth. The spacecraft will take 10 months to reach the asteroid.
The technology has the potential to alter the course of asteroids decades before they reach Earth and cause a potential catastrophe.