NASA Wants To Redirect Asteroid In Space : Short Wave In movies, asteroids careening towards Earth confront determined humans with nuclear weapons to save the world! But a real NASA mission to change the course of an asteroid (one not hurtling towards Earth), the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), is about to launch.

NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce joins the show to talk about what it takes to pull off this mission and how it could potentially protect the Earth in the future from killer space rocks.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

A Mission To Redirect An Asteroid

A Mission To Redirect An Asteroid

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This illustration shows NASA's DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency's (ASI) LICIACube prior to impact at the Didymos binary system. NASA/Johns Hopkins, APL/Steve Gribben hide caption

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NASA/Johns Hopkins, APL/Steve Gribben

This illustration shows NASA's DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency's (ASI) LICIACube prior to impact at the Didymos binary system.

NASA/Johns Hopkins, APL/Steve Gribben

In movies, asteroids careening towards Earth confront determined humans with nuclear weapons to save the world! But a real NASA mission to change the course of an asteroid (one not hurtling towards Earth), the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), is about to launch.

NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce joins the show to talk about what it takes to pull off this mission and how it could potentially protect the Earth in the future from killer space rocks.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Eva Tesfaye and Thomas Lu, edited by Gisele Grayson, and fact-checked by Margaret Cirino. Patrick Murray was the audio engineer.