Asteroid Defender: NASA Works On A Superpowered Ion Engine To Redirect Asteroids

The threat of an asteroid hitting Earth will linger all the time, and the terror that mankind will end up just like the dinosaurs will probably never go away, despite the fact that NASA said multiple times that such risks are minimal.

The planet is living in fear and uncertainty these days, during the global crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, and the last thing needed on people’s minds is such an apocalyptic scenario besides the massive problem that the Earth has to deal with these days.

NASA is trying to figure out various ways to make sure that Earth remains safe, at least in this regard.

According to the latest reports, the space agency has been working really hard to upgrade the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission so it can take off next July.

Just in case you don’t know, DART is powered by NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster—Commercial (NEXT-C).

This is a powerful ion engine that is now being tested for the mission. “It will get a chance to show what it’s made of in a demo that will have it confronting the non-threatening binary asteroid system Didymos,” according to Syfy.com.

Even if NEXT-C is not a rocket engine that requires a massive amount of thrust in order to lift off, this is one of the most powerful ion drives out there.

NSTAR’s power drives on Dawn and Deep Space One spacecraft

It’s been also revealed that it has triple the power of the NSTAR drives on NASA’s Dawn and Deep Space One spacecraft.

The thruster and power processing unit (PPU) are its primary components.

According to the same website mentioned above, “the thruster went through a gauntlet of tests, including vibration, thermal vaccum and performance trials, plus extreme launch vibration and the brutal cold of space, before scientists determined it was ready to join forces with the PPU.”

We recommend that you check out the complete article in order to learn more details.

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