Skip to content
NASA’s “DART” mission to crash ship to redirect asteroid, scientists say

NASA is hoping that a new mission slated to launch next month will demonstrate a technique that could prevent an asteroid from hitting Earth.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, mission is directed by NASA to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

“DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique to modify the motion of an asteroid in space,” the space agency said.

DART will hitchhike aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to a near-Earth asteroid system called (65803) Didymos.

It is made up of a 780-meter-wide body orbiting a 160-meter-wide moon, “which is more typical of the size of the asteroids that could pose the greatest threat to Earth,” NASA said. .

Radar images of the near-Earth asteroid Didymos and its 2003 moon.Nasa

Aided by cameras and autonomous navigation systems, DART will crash into the moon at 6.6 kilometers per second, NASA said.

“The collision will change the speed of the moon in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of a percent, but it will change the moon’s orbital period by several minutes – enough to be observed and measured using telescopes on Earth, ”he added. says NASA.

The launch is scheduled to take place on November 23 at 10:20 p.m. PT, from Space Force Base Vandenberg in California.

The spacecraft will separate from the rocket and sail for about a year before intercepting (65803) Didymos in September 2022.

DART will also use solar panels to charge electric ion thrusters, demonstrating another emerging space propulsion technology, NASA said.

“By using electric propulsion, DART could benefit from significant flexibility in the mission schedule while demonstrating the next generation of ion engine technology, with applications to potential future NASA missions,” said NASA.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.