A spacecraft with long wing-like solar panels is shown approaching a large rocky asteroid with another asteroid shown nearby.


Wednesday, November 24


Vandenberg Space Force Base, California

Target Audience:

General Audience


Follow along as NASA launches its first planetary defense mission. Learn more about the mission, find key dates, and explore related educational resources to engage students in asteroid science and detection below.

About the Mission:

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, mission is designed to test whether it's possible to change the motion of an asteroid by hitting it with a spacecraft called a kinetic impactor. If successful, a similar technique could be used to defend Earth against potential impacts by hazardous asteroids in the future.

To test the technique, DART will travel to a binary asteroid system consisting of a smaller asteroid, Dimorphos, orbiting a larger one, Didymos. DART will then deliberately crash into the orbiting asteroid to alter its speed and path around Didymos. After impact, telescopes on Earth will measure the orbital period of Dimorphos around Didymos to see what effect the impact had on the asteroid’s motion.

Note: The asteroids Didymos and Dimorphos do NOT pose a threat to Earth. At the time of DART's impact, they will be 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers) from our planet.

Key Dates:

Launch window: Nov. 24, 2021 - Feb. 15, 2022
DART impact with Dimorphos: Sept. 26 - Oct. 2, 2022

Learn more and follow along with the latest news and updates on the mission website.

Educational Resources:

Educator Guides

Expert Talks


Student Activities

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