• NASA to smash spacecraft into an asteroid

    Date:24 June 2020 Author: Leila Stein

    As part of its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission, NASA will crash its DART spacecraft into the Didymoon asteroid.

    “The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact deflection by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6.6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera (named DRACO) and sophisticated autonomous navigation software,” said NASA in a statement.

    “The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent, but this will change the orbital period of the moonlet by several minutes – enough to be observed and measured using telescopes on Earth.”

    Following this, the European Space Agency’s Hera craft will map the result f this crash on the asteroid.

    According to ESA, Hera will carry two CubeSats which will be able to fly closer to the asteroid surface and carry out these measurements and studies.

    The aim of this mission is to test asteroid deflection as a tactic for planetary defense against wayward asteroids.

    DART is planned to launch in late July 2021 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It will reach its target around September 2022.

    Image:ES/Screenshot



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