A PROFESSOR from the United States is coming to Cheshire to give a talk on NASA's planetary defence project.

Derek Richardson, an astronomy professor at the University of Maryland, is set to visit the Wincham Community Centre on Thursday, April 20.

Organised and hosted by the Wincham, Pickmere and District Astronomy Group, Prof Richardson's talk will focus on space agency's DART (double asteroid redirection test) mission.

DART is NASA's first planetary defence mission and sought to test and validate a method to protect Earth in case of an asteroid impact threat.

On September 26 last year, the DART mission shifted an asteroid's orbit through kinetic impact – specifically, by successfully smashing a spacecraft into the smaller member of the binary asteroid system Didymos.

Since the successful test, the DART team has been analysing the data collected from the mission, finding a kinetic impactor mission can be effective in altering the trajectory of an asteroid.

Prof Richardson's talk will take place between 7pm and 9pm. There will be a charge of £3 on the door and refreshments will be available.