By Tim Prudente
A team of scientists, astronomers and engineers meets weekly in a conference room on a Howard County, Md., research campus and plans to save the world.
“Keep calm and carry DART,” reads a poster on the wall.
DART — the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — is their plan to avert catastrophe. It’s also NASA’s first mission not to explore space, but to defend against it.
The research team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel plans to launch a spacecraft, speed it up really fast and smash it into an asteroid.
The impact, they hope, will bump the big space rock off course — actually more like nudge it slightly. Someday, the thinking goes, this method may save people from the fate of the dinosaurs.
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