NASA will launch DART on November 23, 2021, and will be headed to Dimorphos to prove that the spacecraft can "autonomously navigate to a target asteroid."

Earth's first planetary defence test mission called DART or Double Asteroid Redirection Test is about to be tested on a real asteroid soon. The DART spacecraft will be heading towards a moonlet asteroid called Dimorphous and crash into it to deflect the asteroid from its orbit. Dimorphous orbits another asteroid called Didymos. NASA clearly mentions that neither of the asteroids poses a threat to Earth. The spacecraft will be launched from Earth on November 23, 2021, for its first test mission.

"DART will be the first demonstration of the ‘kinetic impactor technique in which a spacecraft deliberately collides with a known asteroid at high speed to change the asteroid’s motion in space. This technique is thought to be the most technologically mature approach for mitigating a potentially hazardous asteroid, and it will help planetary defence experts refine asteroid kinetic impactor computer models, giving insight into how we could deflect potentially dangerous near-Earth objects in the future." says Lindley Johnson, NASA's Planetary Defence Officer.

NASA Is About To Test The World's First Planetary Defence System

DART will be launched on November 23, 2021, and will be headed to Dimorphous to prove that the spacecraft can "autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and kinetically impact it." Thereafter, the team on Earth will observe the effects of the impact on the asteroid through telescopes. The DART mission will help scientists develop predictive capabilities for an actual encounter with a threatening asteroid. The DART system has been developed over the past year and a half. The spacecraft has been outfitted with various technologies including NASA's Next-C ion propulsion system.

According to the official report published on NASA's website on November 4, 2021, DART team members have been preparing the spacecraft for flight, testing the spacecraft’s mechanisms and electrical system, wrapping the final parts in multilayer insulation blankets, and practising the launch sequence from both the launch site and the mission operations centre at APL. From November 10, 2021, the spacecraft will be placed on top of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. In addition, if the launch event planned for November 23, 2021, does not turn out to be a success, launch, attempts will take place through February 2022.