Published: 25th October 2021
What The FAQ: What is NASA's DART Mission to crash a spacecraft in space all about?
In a tweet, NASA mentioned how the mission will test crash a spacecraft into an asteroid heading towards Earth, preventing the asteroid from colliding
NASA is preparing to launch the DART Mission on November 23, 2021 (Pacific Standard Time), the US space agency announced on October 24. In a tweet, NASA mentioned how the mission will crash a spacecraft into an asteroid. Here's all you need to know about the DART Mission and how it will go down:
What is the DART Mission?
DART or Double Asteroid Redirection Test will test methods to alter an asteroid's path in space. NASA says the test will help them understand how to prevent an asteroid heading towards Earth from colliding. The mission will be launched along with the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base.
What is DART's target?
NASA scientists are targeting an asteroid near Earth — Didymos. The asteroid, which is now being monitored by NASA, is 780 metres in diameter. Didymos also has a secondary body that is around 160 metres in diameter.
How will the DART Mission work?
The mission will use the kinetic impactor technique, where an object (spacecraft) that is huge and has a high velocity will be thrown into the path of a travelling asteroid. DART is the first-of-its-kind test that seeks to alter an asteroid's trajectory.
According to NASA, cameras mounted on the spacecraft, called Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for OpNav (DRACO), will help navigate it and smash into the asteroid at a speed of 6.6 km/s. The scientists inform that this will slow down the speed of the secondary body's orbit around the asteroid by a fraction and also modify the orbital period of the secondary body by some minutes.