NASA’s DART mission will try deflecting near-Earth asteroid next month

DART will not alter the course of Dimorphos by much (Photo credit: NASA)

Have you ever been scared of news of asteroids hurtling toward Earth? Well, things are about to change for good as NASA’s ‘Double Asteroid Redirection Test’ or DART is set to deflect an asteroid on September 26.The spacecraft will attempt to deflect the binary Didymos asteroid system.The success of DART’s one-way trip will be crucial in shaping NASA’s larger planetary defense system.


Why did NASA choose Dimorphos as the first target?
DART spacecraft will attempt to deflect the binary, near-Earth asteroid Didymos and its moonlet Dimorphos. The probe will impact Dimorphos at a speed of 6.6km/s (23,760km/h).Dimorphos was chosen as DART’s preliminary assignment because its speed around Diydmos is relatively lower than the twins’ speed around the sun.This will help determine DART’s kinetic impact more effectively.

The probe

The probe will slam into the asteroid
DART was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in November 2021. It has been developed and operated by the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, under NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office’s (PDCO) direction.The probe will, for the first time, demonstrate deflecting an asteroid using a ‘kinetic impactor.’ Kinetic impactor, in this case, means slamming the spacecraft into the asteroid.


Didymos is a perfect test subject to determine DART’s viability
The Didymos asteroid system does not pose any threat to Earth. If so, why was it chosen as DART’s first target?The fact that it’s not headed toward Earth makes it a perfect testing ground. It will help us determine whether intentionally crashing a 500kg spacecraft is a viable method to alter the course of an asteroid that pose threat to us or not.


By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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