The DART mission to collide with an asteroid is gone!

On board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission took off as planned from the Vandenberg launch pad in California, United States. DART deployment has been confirmed. Direction the Didymos binary asteroid system which will be reached in September 2022 and then 11 million kilometers from Earth.

It is between September 26 and October 1, 2022 that the DART probe will collide with the asteroid Dimorphos which measures nearly 163 meters in diameter and which is in orbit around Didymos (780 m in diameter).

The final approach will be made at a speed of around 6.6 km / s with an impact mass of 560 kg. The objective will be to reduce the orbital period of Dimorphos by approximately 10 minutes, which is currently 11.92 hours. A very small change in trajectory that can be measured via telescopes and radars on Earth.

A kinetic impact for a deviation

DART will show that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it. A deflection method called kinetic impact. The test will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that could pose a dangerous impact on Earth, should one be discovered. “, declares nasa.

DART’s only instrument is a DRACO (Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation) camera for precise navigation aid images. It will be activated in a week. During the last 4 hours before impact, DART will use DRACO to target the asteroid, also with detailed images of the surface.

Credit: Nasa

The DART mission also includes a 6U CubeSat type nanosatellite from the Italian Space Agency. The LICIACube will be deployed two days before the impact with the asteroid Dimorphos from which it will send images.

In November 2024, the European mission Hera will take off and go to meet the Didymos system. At the end of 2026, it will conduct a detailed on-site observation of the impact of DART on Dimorphos.

Source: GNT – actualités by

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