Explore Solar System and Beyond: A Deep Dive into the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)
Monday 09/12/2022
6:00 pm ET
FREE 1-hour Webinar
Educators in Grades K-12

The NASA Educator Professional Development Collaborative at
Texas State University is providing a 1-hour webinar.


Join us for a Deep Dive into Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) - NASA's First Planetary Defense Test Mission. 

DART is the first-ever space mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid's motion in space through kinetic impact.  Launched in 2021, DART will be kinetically impacting Dimorphos - a known asteroid (with no threat to Earth) on September 26 at 7:14 pm ET. 

DART is the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards.  The goal is to slightly change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be accurately measured using ground-based telescopes.  DART will show that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with the asteroid – a method of deflection called kinetic impact. The test will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered.

LICIACube, a CubeSat riding with DART provided by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), will be released prior to DART’s impact to capture images of the impact and the resulting cloud of ejected matter.  Researchers will precisely measure that change using telescopes on Earth. Their results will validate and improve scientific computer models critical to predicting the effectiveness of the kinetic impact as a reliable method for asteroid deflection. Roughly four years after DART’s impact, ESA’s (European Space Agency) Hera project will conduct detailed surveys of both asteroids, with particular focus on the crater left by DART’s collision and a precise determination of Dimorphos’ mass.

“DART is turning science fiction into science fact and is a testament to NASA’s proactivity and innovation for the benefit of all,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “In addition to all the ways NASA studies our universe and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this test will help prove out one viable way to protect our planet from a hazardous asteroid should one ever be discovered that is headed toward Earth.”



Dr. Thomas Statler is a planetary scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, a member of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office and Program Scientist for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission — humanity’s first attempt to change the motion of a natural celestial body in space and the first full-scale test of an asteroid deflection technology. At NASA HQ, Dr. Statler helps to develop and manage robotic space missions to explore our Solar System, working closely with each mission’s Science Team to help turn their visions of discovery into reality. In addition to his role on DART, he serves as Program Scientist for the Lucy mission, now on its way to explore the still-unvisited Trojan asteroids, and for the Japan-led MMX mission, which will land on Mars’s moon Phobos and return samples to Earth in 2029. An accomplished scientist and educator, Dr. Statler earned his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Princeton University, and for nearly 20 years was professor of physics and astronomy at Ohio University and founding director of its Astrophysical Institute. His research has spanned topics from the collisions of multiple universes to supermassive black holes and the spins and orbits of near-Earth asteroids. Dr. Statler is an enthusiastic science communicator, and has given countless public presentations, including radio shows, TV interviews, online videos, telescope nights, and stargazing hikes, and has collaborated with artists on space-themed public exhibits. He is a past chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Division on Dynamical Astronomy, and asteroid 9536 Statler is named in his honor.

Barbie Buckner is a 20+ year STEM classroom teacher with a Doctorate Degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Louisville. Her research interest include the impact of technology on student achievement and teacher behavior. Buckner recently served as a 2013-14 Einstein Fellow at the National Science Foundation Education and Human Resources Directorate where she collaborated with colleagues on learning, learning environments, broadening participating and workforce development. Barbie sees education as her calling and has spent her life sharing her love for learning with everyone around her. Knowing that today’s student will compete in a global economy, Barbie says that “It is imperative that today’s students are prepared with consistent, rigorous, and relevant standards that encourage more STEM majors, particularly women, to keep this great nation at the forefront in technology, innovation, and advancement.”