The DART spacecraft will hit the asteroid and change its detour speed around Didymos at 6 kilometres per second.
- We would be quite defenceless, if an asteroid were to head towards the Earth in the likely future.
- NASA has approved a mission to throw a “small” asteroid in 2022 to change the same.
- Whether we can protect our planet from a future asteroid impact was the only aim of the project.
As we have not successfully developed a method that could reduce or entirely prevent the impact of a shocking accident, if an asteroid were to head towards the Earth.
However, that might be about to change. A project called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), was permitted by NASA in 2022 directing to throw a “small” asteroid.
A moon asteroid about 150 meters tall, familiarly known as Didymoon in request, named after the Greek word for twins, it’s a part of a double asteroid system in which it tracks another 800-meter asteroid about a kilometre away.
The European Space Agency is also involved in the mission
Once DART is launched, it will ultimately hit with Didymoon and will be driven by a solar-electric-propulsion system.
Spacecraft called Hera, will also be accompanied by a European Space Agency (ESA), which will be mainly responsible for collecting data about the asteroid.
It won’t be on-site during the effect, but it will be present afterward, according to Space though.
It will be accompanied by two small CubeSats, according to ESA, when Hera launches. The gravitational field and the internal structure of the asteroid, nanosatellites no larger than a cereal package, will record additional data.
The two satellites will land on the two space rocks and release around the asteroids.
The asteroid’s orbit will be redirected with the kinetic impactor technique
“Known as the kinetic impactor technique, DART would be NASA’s first mission to demonstrate. To defend against a potential future asteroid impact, striking the asteroid to shift its orbit,” As told by defense officer Lindley Johnson, at NASA Headquarters.
The DART spacecraft weighing about 500 kilograms, suppose to hit the asteroid at 6 kilometres per second, changing its orbital pace around Didymos by nearly 0.4 millimetres per second. It might sound like a tiny figure, but the reorientation will be considerable enough to be measured from Earth to telescopes.
“We can protect our planet from a future asteroid influence as DART is a critical step in indicating,” Andy Cheng said in a statement, who co-leads the DART investigation, at the John’s Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. “We need to perform this experiment on a real asteroid, since we don’t know much about their internal structure or alignment. With a kinetic impactor by hitting the hazardous object into a different flying route that would not threaten the planet, we can show how to protect Earth from an asteroid attack, with DART.”
The mission’s inauguration is programmed to take place between December 2020 and May 2021.