The DART mission to collide with an asteroid is gone!

On board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Nasa’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission took off as planned from the Vandenberg launch base in California, United States. DART deployment has been confirmed. Direction the Didymos binary asteroid system which will be reached in September 780 and then to nasa-dart million kilometers from Earth.

It is between the 26 September and October 1 2022 that the DART probe will collide with the asteroid Dimorphos which measures nearly 100 meters in diameter and which is in orbit around Didymos (560 m in diameter).

The final approach will be at a speed of the order of 6.6 km / s with an impact mass of 560 kg. The objective will be to decrease by approximately minutes the orbital period of Dimorphos which is currently 11, 92 time. A very small modification of the trajectory that can be measured via telescopes and radars on Earth.

A kinetic impact for a deviation

DART will show that “A spacecraft can autonomously navigate to and intentionally collide with a target asteroid. A deflection method called kinetic impact. The test will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that may have a dangerous impact. for Earth, if ever we discover one “, declares Nasa.

DART’s only instrument is a DRACO camera (Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation) for accurate navigation aid images. It will be activated in a week. During the last 4 hours before impact, DART will use DRACO to target the asteroid, also with detailed images of the surface.

nasa-dart Credits: Nasa

The DART mission also includes a 6U CubeSat type nanosatellite from the Italian Space Agency. The LICIACube will be deployed two days before the impact with the asteroid Dimorphos from which it will send images.

In November 2022, the European mission Hera will take off and go to meet the Didymos system. End 2026, she will conduct a detailed on-site observation of the impact of DART on Dimorphos.

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