NASA’s asteroid mission could prevent future catastrophes: Chris Hadfield

A NASA spacecraft is on its way to smash directly into an asteroid.

The test is meant to determine whether it’s possible to redirect an asteroid headed toward Earth.

It’s a plot straight out of a Hollywood movie. Former International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics the mission is worth undertaking.

“If we can just deflect an asteroid the tiniest bit, when it’s millions of kilometres away, then it’s going to miss the Earth,” he said. 

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, launched on Tuesday. The spacecraft is expected to slam straight to the Dimorphos asteroid by September of next year. 

If the mission succeeds, Hadfield said, the world will have a method to stop a potentially catastrophic asteroid crash.

“We’ll be able to see, over time, how much did we move it compared to where it would have been, versus where it’s going right now,” he said. 

“Once we’ve seen that, then we have basically identified a way for us as residents of planet Earth to protect our planet for any threatening asteroid in the future.”

With files from The Associated Press

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