NASA is developing the first-ever mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test that will deflect a near-Earth asteroid, and help test the systems that will allow mankind to protect the planet from potential cosmic body impacts in the future.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test
- DART would be NASA’s first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique striking the asteroid to shift its orbit to defend against a potential future asteroid impact.
- DART is a critical step in demonstrating we can protect our planet from a future asteroid impact.
- It is being designed and would be built and managed by the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory is moving from concept development to preliminary design phase.
Experiment on a real asteroid
- The target for DART is an asteroid, the asteroid is called Didymos that will have a distant approach to Earth in October 2022, and then again in 2024.
- The asteroid system that consists of two bodies: Didymos A and Didymos B.
- DART would impact only the smaller of the two bodies, Didymos B.
- After launch, DART would fly to Didymos and use an APL- developed on board autonomous targeting system to aim itself at Didymos B.
- Then the refrigerator-sized spacecraft would strike the smaller body at a speed about nine times faster than a bullet, about six kilometres per second.
Earth-based observatories would be able to see the impact and the resulting change in the orbit of Didymos B around Didymos A, allowing scientists to better determine the capabilities of kinetic impact as an asteroid mitigation strategy.
By doing it well before the predicted impact so that this small nudge will add up over time to a big shift of the asteroid’s path away from Earth.
Source : The Hindu
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