What is NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) Mission?
The Dart (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission is one of the future-oriented projects of NASA in which NASA aims to hit an asteroid to adjust its speed and path of orbit. DART will be the first-ever space mission to demonstrate asteroid deflection by the kinetic impactor. The spacecraft will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket out of Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The launch date of the DART(Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission for PST (Pacific Time Zone), is November 23, 2021, 10:21 p.m, and for EST (Eastern Time Zone), November 24, 2021, 1:21 a.m.
The date of the DART(Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission impact is estimated between September 26 – October 1, 2022, The date of the DART impact in fall 2022 was planned to reduce the distance between Earth and Didymos, allowing for the best telescopic views possible.
Didymos will remain around 11 million kilometers (6.8 million miles) from Earth at the time of the DART hit, but telescopes throughout the world will be able to participate in the worldwide international watching effort to establish the collision’s effect.
Above mention, the figures illustrate the overall work and objective of the mission. The system is made up of two asteroids: the bigger Didymos (diameter: 780 meters, 0.48 miles) and Dimorphos (diameter: 160 meters, 525 feet), which circles the larger asteroid.
The DART will hit the Dimorphos (formerly called “Didymos B”) meteoroid and due to its impact, NASA’s aims will change the orbit of the revolution of the Didymos meteoroid.
The high-resolution telescope of the earth orbiting in the earth’s orbit will be able to measure the change in the orbit of Dimorphos to evaluate the effectiveness of the DART impact. In simple words, we may say that it is the first humankind’s first planetary defense experiment.
What are the specifications of the DART Mission?
DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) Mission is a low-cost space mission. The main structure of the spacecraft is a box with dimensions of roughly 1.2 × 1.3 × 1.3 meters (3.9 × 4.3 × 4.3 feet), from which other structures extend to result in measurements of roughly 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) in width, 1.9 meters (6.2 feet) in length, and 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) in height.
It contains two massive solar arrays that are each 8.5 meters (27.9 feet).
DART will guide itself to collide with Dimorphos at a speed of around 6.6 kilometers (4.1 miles) per second.
The DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission has a total mass of roughly 1,345 pounds (610 kilograms) during launch and 1,210 pounds (550 kilograms) after impact. DART contains hydrazine propellant (about 110 pounds, or 50 kilograms) for spacecraft maneuvers and attitude control, as well as xenon (approximately 130 pounds, or 60 kilograms) to power the ion propulsion technology demonstration engine.
What are the main goals of the DART Mission?
DART is a space mission planned to hit an asteroid as a technology demonstration.
DART’s target asteroid is NOT a threat to Earth.
This asteroid system is ideal for determining if purposely crashing a manmade spacecraft into an asteroid is an efficient strategy to redirect its orbit if an Earth-threatening asteroid is detected in the future.
What is the Significance of the DART Mission for the Upcoming Future?
While no known asteroid greater than 140 meters in size has a high probability of colliding with Earth in the upcoming 100 years, as of October 2021, only about 40% of such asteroids have been discovered.
This test will demonstrate to NASA how a kinetic impact approach may work against a potentially dangerous asteroid.
If a large asteroid endangered Earth in some way in the future, NASA might send out a spacecraft like DART to crash into it and drive it on a new path.
Source:- DART: NASA’s asteroid-deflecting spacecraft