The DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) Mission to target the binary asteroid Didymos.
NASA to launch a mission in November 2021 to strike an asteroid that could be a threat to the Earth. NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission is expected to be launched to avoid the risky asteroid from colliding with the Earth. The mission will be launched at 10:20 pm PST on 23rd November (i.e. at 10:50 am IST the following day). Double Asteroid Redirection Test is predicted to launch a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from California, United States. The rocket will be launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California and will encompass live coverage. It will also be broadcasted on NASA applications, NASA Television, and also the website. The space agency is also going to call for the media coverage of this activity.
Double Asteroid Redirection Test is the first demonstration of the Kinetic Impactor Technique carried out by NASA. Here, one or more high-speed aircraft to catch the path of the object coming near the Earth, the agency told in a press release. This interception might change the route of the object and avoid the collision. DART, the planetary defense-driven technology test will be concentrating at binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos.
What exactly is Didymos?
Didymos is mainly a binary asteroid having two parts, of which the primary body is nearly 2559 feet across and the secondary body, also known as moonlet is 525 feet in size. The Moonlet’s size is attributed to the space objects that could pose risk to the Earth. The Didymos binary is presently being observed with the telescopes on the Earth to correctly measure the properties.
How will Didymos perform?
The DART will cruise for more than one year after being separated from the launch vehicle. Later it will intercept Didymos’s moonlet in around 10 months, September 2022. The Didymos system will stay as far as 6.8 million miles, around 11 kilometers from Earth. As DART will intentionally crash the moonlet, the kinetic deflection will be achieved. The collision will occur at a speed of around 6.6 kilometers per second. DART will be supported with an onboard camera, known as DRACO along with autonomous navigation software. Once this is launched, DART’s Roll Out Solar Arrays will be set up to offer the machine with the needed solar power for an electric propulsion system.
The DART’s crash with moonlet will change the speed of approaching near-Earth objects surrounding the primary asteroid body by just near about one percent. But the moonlet’s orbital time will change by minutes. This will hence allow sufficient time for scientists to witness and measure the event with telescopes on the Earth.