Expert available to comment on NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)

After nearly a year since its launch last November, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will make contact with the Dimorphos asteroid Monday evening.

The spacecraft is expected to directly hit the double asteroid system to test whether it is possible to redirect an asteroid in the event one is ever a threat to Earth.

Paul Wiegert, an asteroid expert at Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space), is available for media interviews on the test.

Previously, Wiegert emphasized the importance of the test to learn whether or not we can safely divert potentially dangerous asteroids. He is especially interested in examining the possibility of debris from the test entering into near-Earth space.

“I suspect the amount of DART-ejected material that will reach the Earth is very small,” says Wiegert.

“This is good news of course in many practical ways. The James Webb space telescope has already been hit by meteoroids and we’re very happy that the DART impact won’t contribute to that hazard.”

Wiegert is an expert in the dynamics of the Solar System, particularly its smaller bodies like asteroids, comets and meteoroid streams.

Commentary reflects the perspective and scholarly interest of Western faculty members and is not an articulation of official university policy on issues being addressed.

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