According to the BBC, the DART drone, as it was named by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will "imprint" itself into a celestial body at full speed and thereby change its orbit.
The DART project was developed by NASA in conjunction with the European Space Agency as part of the program to protect the Earth from planetary strikes. Its cost is $ 325 million.
DART is heading towards a system of two asteroids - Didyma and Dimorph. In fact, they do not pose any real threat to our planet. Astronomers have been observing them continuously since 2003. The Americans launched the "kamikaze" rocket for training purposes.
Scientists believe that humanity cannot be relaxed. At least several dozen celestial bodies are known, the probability of collision of which with the Earth is estimated to be much higher . So, in about a year, the asteroid pair - Didyma and Dimorf should approach our planet at a distance of about 6.7 million km - this is about 15 times farther than to the Moon.
The trajectory of the DART vehicle, which weighs about 550 kg, is calculated so that it crashes into the smaller Dimorph at a speed of about 24,000 km / h (or 6.6 km / s).
Another ESA space mission, Hera, was tasked with assessing the effect produced by the collision and refining the new orbit of the asteroid. However, this will happen already at the next approach of Didyma and Dimorph to Earth, in 2026.
A collision with a large celestial body can turn into a real planetary catastrophe for the Earth. Depending on the speed and size of the asteroid, it can destroy our planet, make it uninhabitable, or at least cause a wave of earthquakes, tsunamis and other large-scale cataclysms.