NASA Dart: why a spacecraft was sent to an asteroid
NASA has successfully flown its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) to its asteroid target, the agency’s first attempt to move an asteroid into space.
The target asteroid was Moonlight Dimorphos, a small body just 530 feet (160 m) in diameter. It orbits a larger 2,560-foot (780 m) asteroid called Didymos.
NASA confirmed that none of the asteroids pose a threat to Earth.
Mission control at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland announced the successful impact at 7:14 a.m. EDT, approximately 12.14 a.m. UK time.
Following the successful mission, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said: “At its core, DART represents an unprecedented breakthrough for planetary defense, but it is also a mission of unity with real benefits for all of humanity.
“As NASA studies the universe and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this international collaboration turned science fiction into science fact, demonstrating a way to protect Earth.” does.”
How long was DART in space?
After 10 months in space Dart was directed into its asteroid target.
The mission’s one-way trip confirmed that NASA can successfully navigate a spacecraft to deliberately deflect it to hit an asteroid, a technique known as kinetic effect.
How did Dart reach its goal?
NASA has released information on how the Dart was directed toward its asteroid target, and also how it was able to differentiate between an asteroid and an asteroid moon.
A spokesman for the agency said: “The spacecraft’s only instrument, the Asteroid Camera for Didymos Reconnaissance and Optical Navigation (DRACO), is accompanied by a sophisticated guidance, navigation and control system with autonomous real-time navigation in conjunction with the small body. Works. Smart Nav) algorithm enabled DART to identify and differentiate between two asteroids while targeting the smaller body.
These systems guided the 1,260-pound (570-kilogram) box-shaped spacecraft through the final 56,000 miles (90,000 kilometers) of space into Demorphos, intentionally crashing into it at about 14,000 miles (22,530 kilometers) per hour. slightly slowing the asteroid’s orbital speed.”
What will NASA do now?
Following the successful mission, NASA will now observe Dimorphos using ground-based telescopes to confirm that the Dart impact changed the asteroid’s orbit around Didymos.
It has been estimated that the effect of shortening Dimorphos’ orbit by about one percent, or about 10 minutes; Measuring precisely how much the asteroid was deflected is one of the primary objectives of the full-scale test.