Launched from Earth on November 24, 2021, the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) POT successfully impacted its target asteroid, Dimorphos, on September 26 of last year. The impact disrupted the moon’s orbit of the asteroid in 33 minutes, NASA explains.
While Dimorphos posed no danger to Earth, DART’s successful collision with the asteroid demonstrated a method of asteroid deflection using “kinetic impact” technology. Simply put, it means crashing one thing into something else, in this case, a spaceship into a spaceship. asteroid.
Immediately after the DART impact, the team began analyzing data collected from the world’s first planetary defense test mission.
Led by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, he found that a kinetic impact mission like DART can be effective to alter an asteroid’s trajectory, a big step toward the goal of preventing future asteroid impacts on the Earth. Land.
“We still can’t stop hurricanes or earthquakes, but we finally learned that we can prevent an asteroid impact with enough time, warning, and resources.”said Derek Richardson, a professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland (UMD) and a DART member.
Kinetic impact, the NASA technique that could prevent our extinction
The basis of this mission, as we have already mentioned, focuses on preventing large-scale destruction from occurring on our planet. Of course, as they qualify, it is vital for this type of mission to detect the object in advance. They talk about years and even decades for space agencies to have enough time to plan and execute a kinetic impact mission.
Still, the success of DART raises great optimism about humanity’s ability to protect Earth from the threat of an asteroid. There’s still a lot we don’t know about how the collision changed Dimorphos and its parent asteroid, Didymos.
DART was equipped with only one camera and was destroyed on impact. The European Space Agency is launching its Hera probe on a follow-up mission to analyze the asteroid system in more detail in 2024.
The findings were published Wednesday in four papers in the journal Nature. “These findings add to our fundamental understanding of asteroids and lay the groundwork for how humanity can defend Earth from a potentially dangerous asteroid by altering its course.said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.