Asteroid Collisions Are A Favourite
Theme of Hollywood disaster movies — hitting the Earth with a cataclysmic impact or deflected at the last moment by heroic human intervention.
Now, New Technology
Aimed at averting any future threat to the planet is being put to the test by Nasa scientists
Who Are Preparing
To smash a spacecraft into a faraway asteroid at 23,000kph in order to divert its path.
The $300mn Dart Mission
Which is short for double asteroid redirection test, involves ramming the half-tonne craft into an asteroid called Dimorphos and monitoring the shift in its path through space
Dimorphos Is Unusual
Because while most asteroids orbit the sun, it moves around a larger asteroid called Didymos.
The Target Asteroid Was Chosen
Because it will be easier to assess changes to its local orbit than it would be to measure a deflection around the sun.