Dart, a 500 kg “dart” that deflects an asteroid for NASA

DECRYPTION – This planetary defense test is being carried out in collaboration with Europe, which will study the impact crater in 2026.

Is humanity capable of deflecting a threatening asteroid to prevent it from ever crashing on Earth? It is to answer this question that the European (ESA) and American (Nasa) space agencies have devised a life-size test: the Aida – Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment collaboration.

This program has two components. The most spectacular part started on Wednesday morning with the launch of the American probe Dart (“dart” in English). A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took this 19-meter-span ship into space, the objective of which was simple: to hit a small asteroid at the end of September 2022 in an attempt to make it move a little. In 2024, a second spacecraft, European this one and baptized Hera, will leave and will be placed in 2026 in orbit of the asteroid to study it in detail and measure the impact crater. The cost of each machine (launch and operations included) hovers around 300 million euros.

“It was a launch

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