Asteroid Dimorphos: We’ll get you, ”tweeted NASA shortly after the launch. The probe is scheduled to hit the asteroid Dimorphos next October.
According to NASA calculations, Dimorphos, a kind of moon of the asteroid Didymos with a diameter of around 160 meters, does not pose a threat to Earth at the moment – and the mission is designed so that the asteroid only uses a camera even after the probe hits on board should not pose any danger. After the impact, the approximately twelve-hour orbit of Dimorphos is said to be at least 73 seconds and possibly up to ten minutes shorter. The ESA mission “Hera” is scheduled to start in 2024 to investigate the effects of the impact more closely.
At the moment, scientists are not aware of any asteroid that could hurtle directly towards Earth in the foreseeable future – but researchers have identified around 27,000 asteroids near our planet, around 10,000 of which are more than 140 meters in diameter. NASA hopes that the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission, which costs around 300 million euros, will provide information on how the earth could be protected from approaching asteroids.