NASA successfully crashed the Dart spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos

After a 10-month journey, NASA's Dart test, considered the first demonstration of planetary defense technology, has successfully hit its target asteroid.

BingMag.com NASA successfully crashed the Dart spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos

After a 10-month journey, NASA's Dart test, considered the first demonstration of planetary defense technology, has successfully hit its target asteroid.

This encounter with the asteroid "Dimorphos" is part of NASA's overall planetary defense strategy, a way to protect Earth from asteroids or comets that may be in the path of our planet.

The lunar asteroid Dimorphos is a small body with a diameter of 160 meters, which revolves around the larger asteroid "Didymos" (Didymos) with a length of 780 meters, and neither of these two bodies is a danger to the earth. Ernd.

But Dart's no-return journey confirmed that NASA could successfully direct a spacecraft to deliberately collide with an asteroid; A method known as "Kinetic Impact".

BingMag.com NASA successfully crashed the Dart spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos

Asteroid system Didymus and Dimorphos
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

The research team is now trying to confirm the change in the asteroid's orbit due to the impact by observing Dimorphos using ground-based telescopes slow Researchers expect this impact to shorten Dimorphos' orbit by about 1 percent, or roughly 10 minutes. Accurately measuring the amount of asteroid deflection is one of the main goals of the full test. Thomas Zurbuchen, deputy director of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said in this regard: "Planetary defense is a global unifying effort that involves all It affects the inhabitants of the earth. We now know that we can accurately target a spacecraft to hit a small object in space. A small change in its speed is all we need to make a significant difference in its path." Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) along with a complex guidance, navigation and control system that works with automatic navigation and real-time maneuvering algorithms, enabled the identification and differentiation between the two asteroids to target the smaller mass. .

These systems guided the 570 kg cube-shaped Dart spacecraft towards Dimorphos in the final 90,000 kilometers to deliberately crash into the asteroid at approximately 22,530 kilometers per hour. Draco's final images showed the surface of Dimorphus in detail seconds before impact.

BingMag.com NASA successfully crashed the Dart spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos

The surface of asteroid Dimorphos
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

In addition to the camera on the spacecraft itself, fifteen days before the impact, the Italian subsatellite LICIACube It was also deployed to image the spacecraft to record the impact and dust scattered during this operation.

The Lysiacube images are intended to provide a close-up view of the effects of the impact to help researchers better understand the effectiveness of the impact technique. Kinetic help in the deflection of an asteroid. Considering that this space camera does not have a large antenna, its images will gradually reach Earth in the coming weeks. It is an essential tool that we must have to protect the Earth from a devastating impact of an asteroid." He added: "This operation shows that we are no longer powerless to prevent these kinds of natural disasters. Along with speeding up the detection of potentially hazardous asteroids, including by the upcoming Near-Earth Object Mapper mission, a Dart replacement spacecraft could save us from a potential threat.

Asteroid Dimorphos as seen from Darth
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

Now after The collision of the spacecraft with these objects at a distance of 11 million kilometers, an international team uses dozens of telescopes located around the world and in space to observe the asteroid system.

  • Hubble and James Webb will observe NASA's Dart hitting an asteroid

in In the coming weeks, scientists will measure the impact created and determine the effectiveness of the dart by precisely determining the change in the orbit of the dimorphos. These results will help to validate and improve the scientific computer models that have been developed to predict this technique and are necessary to change the trajectory of the asteroid. "This first-of-its-kind mission required incredible preparation and precision, and the mission team exceeded expectations in every way," Hashab said. Beyond the truly exciting success of this technology demonstration, Dart-based capabilities could one day be used to redirect a real asteroid and protect Earth and sustain life on it.

In addition to the early review, Almost four years later, the European Space Agency's Hera project will carry out detailed investigations of Dimorphos and Didymus, with a special focus on the crater left by the impact of the dart and precise measurements of Dimorphos' mass.

Cover photo: A graphic design of NASA's Dart reaching Dimorphos
Credit: NASA

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