NASA launched a spacecraft DART on a mission to crash into an asteroid. The purpose of the mission is to test whether it would be conceivable to smash an asteroid to save Earth.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft, took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
If it worked as planned, by September 2022 it will knock off into Dimorphos. Dimorphos is a small asteroid with a dimension of 525 feet, and it orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos (every 11 hours & 55 minutes).
According to the Nancy Chabot (project manager) of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, this will not abolish the space rock. It’s just sent to give that asteroid a small nudge.
As described above, Dimorphos revolves around a bigger asteroid named Didymos. But these asteroids are no danger to Earth, yet scientists consider it a way to gauge the efficacy of the crash.
Why NASA Launches DART Mission to Crash a Spacecraft into an Asteroid?
DART mission aims to give a small nudge to the Dimorphos that will slow it down and push close to toward the bigger one, by doing so it will take 10 minutes less to complete its orbit.
With the help of telescopes, the alteration in the orbital period will be recorded. The selected minimum change for the project success is decided as 73 seconds.
The DART method could prove beneficial for changing the passage of space rock for years or decades before it hit the Earth with the latent cataclysm.
Chabot said that if we succeed this small nudge would result in a big change in the asteroid’s position and there would be fewer chances of collision between the Earth and Dimorphos.
Scientists continually hunt for asteroids and scheme their paths to govern whether they could smash the Earth.
Lindley Johnson (planetary defense officer at NASA) said that we do recognize that there is a big population of near-Earth space rocks, but the best way to Earth’s defense is to discover asteroids before
they can cause any harm. Though there isn’t a presently recognized space rock that’s on strike course with the Earth.
DART spacecraft will take around ten months to reach the Dimorphos asteroid. The impact will take place near 6.8 million miles away from Earth.
10 days earlier, DART will send a miniature surveillance spaceship to follow it which is delivered by the Italian space agency.
DART will broadcast video up until it is demolished on impact. After three minutes, the rambling craft will take images of the collision site and solid that is evicted.