DART Animation. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL
An on-orbit demonstration of asteroid deflection is a key test that NASA and other companies wish to perform before any actual need exists. The DART objective is NASAs demonstration of kinetic impactor innovation, affecting an asteroid to change its speed and course. DART will be the first-ever space objective to show asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor. The spacecraft will release on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket out of Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
Infographic showing the effect of DARTs effect on the orbit of Didymos B. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL
DARTs target is the binary asteroid system Didymos, which indicates “twin” in Greek (and explains the word “double” in the missions name). Didymos is the ideal candidate for mankinds very first planetary defense experiment, although it is not on a path to clash with Earth and therefore presents no actual threat to the world. The system is made up of two asteroids: the bigger asteroid Didymos (diameter: 780 meters, 0.48 miles), and the smaller moonlet asteroid, Dimorphos (size: 160 meters, 525 feet), which orbits the larger asteroid. The DART spacecraft will affect Dimorphos almost head-on, shortening the time it takes the small asteroid moonlet to orbit Didymos by several minutes.
DARTs target is the binary asteroid system Didymos, which implies “twin” in Greek (and describes the word “double” in the objectives name). The system is made up of two asteroids: the bigger asteroid Didymos (diameter: 780 meters, 0.48 miles), and the smaller moonlet asteroid, Dimorphos (diameter: 160 meters, 525 feet), which orbits the bigger asteroid. The DART spacecraft will impact Dimorphos nearly head-on, shortening the time it takes the small asteroid moonlet to orbit Didymos by numerous minutes.
Earth moves through a dangerous area.
Astronomers approximate there are about 1,000 near-Earth asteroids larger than 1 kilometer– huge enough to trigger a global catastrophe. Far less is understood about smaller sized asteroids.
NASAs Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will be the first-ever area objective to demonstrate asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor on a binary asteroid target: the smaller asteroid of Didymos, called Didymos B. Didymos is Greek for “twin.”.
DART is directed by NASA and undertaken by a team led by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory with support from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Planetary Defense Coordination Office within NASAs Science Mission Directorate is the lead for planetary defense activities and is sponsoring this mission.
DART is planned to intercept the secondary member of the Near-Earth Asteroid Didymos binary system in late September or early October 2022.