Humanity’s first asteroid defense mission

An artistic representation of NASA’s DART mission. (Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory)
  1. Space vehicle
  2. Summary:
    1. NASA is one month away from launching DART, short for “Double Asteroid Redirection Test.”
    2. The spacecraft’s mission is to hit an asteroid head-on to divert it from its original trajectory.
    3. The DART mission is important because it is a first-of-its-kind test of this kind of technology.
    4. “The DART mission is a demonstration of capability to respond to a potential asteroid impact threat, should one ever be discovered.”
    5. The idea originated at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland.
    6. The mission will target a binary asteroid system known as Didymos, pushing one asteroid closer to the other in order to shorten its orbit.
  3. Cybersecurity Concerns:
    1. Overall, this mission seems like it would benefit all of humanity. Regardless, threat actors may be invested in interefering with it for several reasons.
    2. Nation-states or cybercrime groups might want to steal data from this mission because it is the first-of-its-kind in a new area of technology.
    3. Terror groups might want to interfere with the mission to make a statement or send a message.
    4. Hackivists might try to steal data about the spacecraft because of the novelty of this technology.
  4. Critical Systems:
    1. The most critical systems related to this mission are those of the DART spacecraft. All of the systems required get the craft out of the atmosphere, in position, and able to deflect an asteroid are critical. Critical data include the data regarding the spacecraft and how it was built. Because this is a novel first-of-its-kind test of this technology, the data gained from this mission is also very critical.