NASA launched a spacecraft from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Wednesday, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in its first ever mission to change the course of an asteroid.
The spacecraft is on a journey to crash into a moonlet called "Dimorphos" to see if asteroids can be diverted from colliding with Earth.
Is something similar to what happened in the Hollywood movie "Armageddon" becoming a reality?
For more, we have joining us live Wendy Whitman Cobb, Associate Professor of Strategy and Security Studies, US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.
Professor Whitman Cobb, thanks for joining us.
Please do tell us more about the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, dubbed 'DART' and how the NASA's mission works.
The probe is to "nudge" the asteroid, not destroy it. What's the science behind it?
What's the reason behind NASA choosing to work with a private company and SpaceX, in particular?
The target is "Dimorphos," a space rock orbiting a much bigger asteroid named "Didymos."
Why did NASA choose the "Didymos" system for the test? We hear it wasn't an actual threat to Earth.
When do we get to know if the mission is successful?
And please do tell us more about a follow-up mission by the European Space Agency which will assess the outcome of the DART probe.
Scientists say no of major asteroids are headed our way for at least 100 years, but smaller asteroids could pose a potential threat.
And, of course, they want to get ready.
What significance does this mission have?
Alright. Professor Whitman Cobb, thank you for your insights. We appreciate it.