NASA is preparing to crash a $330 million robot spacecraft into an asteroid later this month.
The Double Asteroid Redirect Test spacecraft, also known as DART, will smash into an asteroid on September 26 as part of a long-term mission to protect the earth from future asteroid impacts.“While the asteroid poses no threat to Earth, this is the world’s first test of the kinetic impact technique, using a spacecraft to deflect an asteroid for planetary defense,” NASA said Thursday.
DART sets sights on asteroid target @NASA's #DARTMission spacecraft recently got a first look at Didymos and its asteroid moonlet, Dimorphos. On Sept. 26, DART will intentionally impact Dimorphos to change its speed & orbit.
September 7, 2022
NASA’s DART mission spacecraft recently sent back its first picture of Didymos and its asteroid moonlet, Dimorphos – the intended target of its crash.
“We know asteroids have hit us in the past,” Professor Alan Fitzsimmons, a member of the DART mission team, was quoted as saying by The Guardian. “We would like to stop the worst of them.
“The problem is that we have never tested the technology which will be needed to do that. That is the purpose of DART,” Fitzsimmons explained.
Scientists hope to study the asteroid’s trajectory and speed after the collision, which will in turn help them understand how such missions can protect the earth against impacts in future.
Our #DARTMission will crash into a non-hazardous asteroid on purpose on Sept. 26 as the world's 1st planetary defense test. But how will we know it worked? To find out, we visited @LowellObs, one of many observatories globally that will monitor the impact. https://t.co/TJn4hq8QKW pic.twitter.com/vAJlUUU3Ax— NASA (@NASA) September 6, 2022
“Dart’s target has been carefully chosen,” explained Jay Tate, director of the National Near Earth Objects Information Centre in Knighton, Powys. “Dimorphos actually orbits another, bigger asteroid called Didymos, and the extent of the deflection caused by the crash will be easier to detect as astronomers have been carefully observing its path around the bigger asteroid.”If all goes to plan, DART will ram into Dimorphos at a speed of 15,000 mph.