DART Spacecraft: NASA spacecraft DART is set to crash into an asteroid. Here’s why?

In the first-of-its-kind, protect-the-world trial, NASA’s spacecraft is all set to hit an asteroid located millions of miles away. NASA’s spacecraft, the Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART), will hit the asteroid on Monday at a speed of 14,000 mph.

Due to the hit’s impact, the asteroid will be nudged at its companion, tethering orbit. This means that in the future, if any killer asteroid heads our way, we will have the chance to fight it. Although cameras and telescopes will record the crash, it will take months to determine if it changed its orbit. This $325 million planetary defense trial started with Dart’s launch last fall.

An Asteroid Is Not A Threat To The Earth

The aimed asteroid is Dimorphos, a weak aid of Didymos, discovered in 1996. Didymos has flagged its materials to create a moonlet. NASA has made it clear that it is not a threat to Earth. The planetary scientist and mission team leader of Johns Hopkins University, Nancy Chabot, said that the hit impact would not blow up the asteroid. Instead, the impact would throw about 1 million kg of rocks and dirt into space. The nudge will slightly change the moonlet’s position.

DART! Will it save our Earth one day?

DART! Will it save our Earth one day?

Earth is on an asteroid chase. NASA sent the Lucy spacecraft to asteroids near Jupiter. NASA collected 450 grams of rubble from an asteroid heading towards Earth that would arrive by September 2023. In 2026, NASA plans to launch a census-taking telescope to identify hard-to-find asteroids.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What components does Dart have?
    Dart was developed with a minimalist approach at John Hopkins University. It only has one instrument; a camera for navigating, targeting, and recording the final action. The Dart is the size of a small vending machine and weighs 1,260 pounds. There is less than a 10 percent chance of a dart missing its target.
  2. How will NASA track Dart’s movements?
    Dart’s camera and a mini-tagalong satellite will closely capture the collision. Telescopes from the seven continents, Hubble and Webb space, and Lucy, NASA’s asteroid-hunting spacecraft, will capture Dart hitting Dimorphos and sending rock and dirt into space. In 2024, Hera, a European spacecraft, will backtrack Dart’s journey to assess the impact results.

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