For the very first time in history, NASA is conducting an experiment in which an asteroid gets clobbered into a spacecraft, millions of miles away from earth. A spacecraft DART was intended to slam on an asteroid at 14,000mph on Monday.
Its impact should be enough to poke the asteroid into a little tighter orbit around its surrounding side rock, revealing that if any dangerous asteroid ever makes its way toward earth, we would stand a confronting chance of diverting it.
Let’s know what’s happening around space and why?
What Is DART? What Is Its Mission?
A double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is a man-made spacecraft made with the intent to collide with a small asteroid to see if it can change the orbit of an asteroid in dark space if one ever comes reasonably close to threatening earth.
For the first time, the US space agency is conducting an experiment for planetary defense, with scientists at Johns Hopkins University.
Explanation Of NASA’s Plan
The targeted asteroid for this experiment is named Dimorphos, which is almost 9.6 million km away from the earth. Dimorphous which is approx. 160m is the undersized sidekick of the 780m asteroids, Didymos.
The reason to choose dimorphos for this experiment is that it is far away from earth and will not cause any harm to earth before or after the collision.
A mission team leader and planetary scientist, Nancy Chabot at Johns Hopkins University said, this experiment is really about the deflection of an asteroid, not about its disruption.
She added that the asteroid is not going to blow up nor is it going to break into countless pieces, the only impact is to dig out a hollow ton of meters in size and throw some 2M pounds of dirt and rock into space.
Reason For Doing This Experiment
NASA wants to judge its competence, that if in future ever a scenario like this( an asteroid having the capability to destroy the earth makes its way towards earth, then can we have the strength to alter its trajectory or not)
Don’t look up the recent comedy on Netflix, if anyone has watched it then they will be familiar with the ultimatum.
“Save The Earth” Experiment
Dimorphos completes a revolution around the didymous every 11hrs and 55 mins and the impact of DART should have about 10 mins after that. So it apparently will take some weeks to verify the moonlet’s twisted orbit. The cameras located on the dart will capture the collision. All of the 7 continents of the world will use their satellites along with NASA’s asteroid hinting Lucy spacecraft and the Hubble-Webb space telescopes.
When DART smacks the dimorphos, a bright flash may be seen along with steam of dirt and rock pieces cascading into the space.
What If Dart Misses Its Target Dimorphos?
Andrea Riley, NASA program executive said, the save the earth experiment will provide valuable understanding, even if the DART misses its target. She added that this is why they test, they want to do it now, preferably when there is an actual need.
How Will It Be Confirmed That The Mission Is Successful?
NASA has announced to live telecast of the whole mission, which is streamed on the official website and social media channels, along with the video and commentary.
Mission managers will address what transpired during a news conference to talk about the effects of this. This conference will start when the mission has been completed for 45 minutes.
NASA is pre-preparing for any mishap that may await us in the future. The idea of willingly crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid helps NASA to prepare for the future and helps strengthen its roots. An experiment like this is happening for the first time in history.
It is a sign of the highly advanced space knowledge of our scientists. If this experiment worked out, then it would be a highly advanced achievement by NASA and helpful in understanding the changing trajectory of an asteroid’s orbit.