What has always been science fiction is eventuallly becoming a reality. NASA has sent out a space mission to hit an asteroid and deflect it away from coming close to the earth. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is a NASA planetary defence-driven mission aimed at testing asteroid deflection through impact.
The mission will target the Didymos binary system composed of the 780 m Didymos asteroid and the much smaller Dimorphos (160 m) moon, orbiting around the primary in 11.9 hours. The probe itself will impact the smaller of the two asteroids heads-on. The impact is expected to alter the orbit of Dimorphos, changing its orbital period by several minutes and proving the efficiency of the kinetic impactor technique.
DART is the first mission to test an asteroid deflection technique and will have important consequences for planetary defence. The DART spacecraft was launched on 24 November 2021 and it will impact Dimorphos at 23:14 UT (2.14 am) on the 26th of September 2022. The TUK team comprises of: Prof. Paul Baki, Dr. Willice Obonyo, Calvince Juma (Msc student) , and undergraduate students Rashid Shishia and Vincent Okoth, observing the asteroid using a 40cm telescope, together with a team from the University of Edinburgh. The impact of the NASA mission with the asteroid Impact will only be observed from Eastern Africa since it will take place when the asteroid system is over the Indian Ocean. The telescopes that will observe the impact are those based in South Africa and the Kenyan one based at the Turkana Basin Institute in Illeret, Marsabit County (near Lake Turkana).
For more information visit the NASA website:https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense/dart/dart-news/