DART Mission :
Maybe this is the 1st step of humankind to avert the judgment day from space.
NASA slammed a spacecraft – DART Mission into an asteroid and celebrated. That’s because it was a deliberate course of action.
On September 26th at around 7:15 p.m EDT, the DART Mission spacecraft sent the last pictures it captured before crashing into Dimorphos, an asteroid moonlet revolving around its mother asteroid named Didymos with an objective to reduce its 12-hour orbit around Didymos by a few minutes by pushing it slightly closer to its parent asteroid using the spacecraft’s kinetic force.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test also known as the Dart Mission is mankind’s first attempt to alter an astroid’s trajectory by slamming a space probe into it.
But don’t be alarmed, the armageddon by a space rock isn’t gonna be a reality, that’s because neither Didymos nor Dimorphos is on course to collide with our planet.
However, this DART Mission attempted to understand how the trajectory of any object can be changed if it’s on a collision course with our planet.
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“We don’t know any large asteroids that would be considered a threat to earth that are coming any time in the next century. The reason that we are doing something like DART is because there are asteroids we haven’t discovered yet,” said DART Mission team member Angela Stickle, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md, in a report.
And space rocks that are around 150 meters wide are hard to locate.
“We only know where about 40% of those arcs. And that is something that, if it did hit, would certainly take out a city,” she added.
After its 10-month-long voyage, the DART Mission encountered Didymos and Dimorphos at the closest point to our planet (i.e 11 million kilometers away). However, the DART Mission spacecraft could only see the mother rock- Didymos until the asteroid moonlet became visible about an hour before its collision.
With its eyes fixed on the target, it darted towards the asteroid at approximately 6.1 kilometers per second, or close to 14,000 miles per hour before its camera feed went dark after the collision.
The DART Mission spacecraft had the Light Italian Cube Sat for capturing the moment of impact detached a few weeks before the event to safely cover it from a distance.
And this probe is expected to relay images of the mission’s success back to earth in a few days.
The space probe’s bull’s eye impact is expected to push Dimorphos into a shorter orbit range around Didymos.
Researchers will observe the changes using telescopes from around the world to record the changes happening in the light absorption process.
This new 1st-of-its-kind data would help us with the discovery of a killer asteroid and the diversion of its track from the earth.