How to deflect an asteroid: DART’s Andrew Cheng on the Physics World Breakthrough of the Year


This episode of the Physics World Weekly podcast features an interview with Andrew Cheng, who is a lead scientist on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) space mission. In September 2022 the DART spacecraft smashed into an asteroid and was successful in changing the orbit of that near-Earth object.

DART was conceived and executed by NASA and an international team led by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory – and they are the winners of the Physics World 2022 Breakthrough of the Year Award.

Cheng is based at Johns Hopkins and he recalls the final moments in mission control before the impact, which he describes as “one of the greatest moments of my life”. He explains how the DART mission came together and talks about how we could defend Earth from asteroid impacts in the future.

This is the final Weekly podcast of 2022. Thanks for listening and we will be back on 5 January with the first episode of 2023.

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