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DART: NASA’s first Planetary Defence Technology

Date: 08 May 2019 Tags: Space

NASA’s first mission to demonstrate planetary defence technique- Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will hit small moonlet in binary asteroid system Didymos in 2022. The main objective of this mission is to test systems that will allow mankind to protect the planet from potential cosmic body impacts in the future.

DART Planetary-Defence Mission

  • It is planned space probe (spacecraft) that will demonstrate kinetic impactor technique of crashing an impactor spacecraft into asteroid moon for planetary defense purposes.
  • It is intended to test whether spacecraft impact could successfully deflect asteroid on a collision course with Earth
  • The DART spacecraft will be launched in June 2021 on board of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US.
  •  It will hit into “Didymoon”, a 165 meters satellite of near-Earth asteroid Didymos in October 2022 at a speed about 6 km/s i.e. about nine times faster than a bullet.
  • Scientists will observe impact using telescopes and measure change in Didymoon’s orbit around its asteroid.
  • After the impact it will able to see whether the asteroid moon moves its path by just fraction of per cent, which will be enough to deflect any future asteroids that posses threat to Earth.

Asteroid Didymos

In Greek-Didymos means twin. It is asteroid binary system that consists of two bodies: Didymos A (about 780 metres in size), and Didymos B (about 160 metres in size), smaller asteroid or moonlet orbiting Didymos A.  It is located at about 4 million miles from Earth. It poses no threat to Earth, that why was chosen by NASA as test target to demonstrate kinetic impactor technique.