After asteroid, NASA looks to crash a car like craft on Mars! Here is exciting reason why

    After crashing a spacecraft into asteroid Dimorphos, NASA wants to do the same on Mars. Know reason behind this exciting experiment.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Oct 24 2022, 12:50 IST
    Joy! NASA’s asteroid mission achieved mission impossible, created history
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    1/6 Nasa’s DART was the first demonstration of the “kinetic impactor” method of asteroid mitigation. This was the first time, when humans altered the path of a celestial body purposefully. (AFP)
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    2/6 NASA chief Bill Nelson said, “All of us have a responsibility to protect our home planet. After all, it’s the only one we have. This mission shows that NASA is trying to be ready for whatever the universe throws at us.” He added that the US agency has proven that it can defend the planet. (via REUTERS)
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    3/6 Before the crash, asteroid Dimorphous took about 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit the larger asteroid Didymos, whereas, post crash, it took only 11 hours and 23 minutes to orbit the larger asteroid. (via REUTERS)
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    4/6 DART impact has shortened the orbit by 32 minutes. None of these space rocks - Dimorphous as well as Didymos pose any threat to our planet, hence it was an ideal target to carry out the DART mission. At the time of collision, the DART spacecraft was traveling at 14000 (22,530-kmph) miles per hour. (via REUTERS)
    5/6 The DART team is currently measuring how efficiently the spacecraft transferred its momentum to the asteroid. “DART has given us some fascinating data about both asteroid properties and the effectiveness of a kinetic impactor as a planetary defense technology. The DART team is continuing to work on this rich dataset to fully understand this first planetary defense test of asteroid deflection,” said Nancy Chabot, the DART coordination lead at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in a press statement. (via REUTERS)
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    6/6 Didymos, the larger asteroid of the binary pair is about a half mile (780 meters or 2559 feet) in diameter. The moonlet, Dimorphos, is about 525 feet (160 meters) in diameter. (via REUTERS)
    NASA SHIELD mission
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    NASA is trying to crash a spacecraft on Mars instead of a smooth landing. Know the reason. (NASA)

    It's not like NASA has never touched down on the surface of the red planet before. NASA has successfully landed on Mars nine times so far. From cutting-edge parachutes, and massive airbags, to jetpacks, all of these have been deployed as safe carriers of spacecraft that have landed on the surface of Mars. But now, the space agency is testing out an entirely new way to land on Mars, which is to crash! In fact, NASA has just crashed a spacecraft on Asteroid Dimorphos through its successful DART mission, although the intent was to deflect the space rock even as the spacecraft itself was destroyed..

    On Mars, NASA has a different plan, which is ensure the spacecraft survives the impact. NASA explains that instead of trying to slow down a spacecraft's high-speed descent on the red planet, it is now testing an experimental lander design called SHIELD, short for Simplified High Impact Energy Landing Device. NASA says in a blog "(it) would use an accordion-like, collapsible base that acts like the crumple zone of a car and absorbs the energy of a hard impact."

    How NASA will test the crash technique for Mars

    To test NASA's new plan for SHIELD for Mars, scientists' team gathered to drop a tower with a full-size prototype of SHIELD's collapsible attenuator. It had an inverted pyramid of metal rings that absorb impact. For the setup, scientists suspended the attenuator on a grapple and inserted a smartphone, a radio, and an accelerometer to gauge the impact on electronics on the spacecraft.

    NASA dropped the electronics at roughly 110 miles per hour! NASA says “That's the speed a Mars lander reaches near the surface after being slowed by atmospheric drag from its initial speed of 14,500 miles per hour when it enters the Mars atmosphere.”

    Future of NASA's plan to crash on Mars

    If successful, then this newer design will help to drastically reduce the cost of landing on Mars by simplifying entry, landing and expanding options on Mars and even beyond the red planet. “We think we could go to more treacherous areas, where we wouldn't want to risk trying to place a billion-dollar rover with our current landing systems. Maybe we could even land several of these at different difficult-to-access locations to build a network,” Lou Giersch of NASA's JPL, SHIELD's project manager, said in NASA's blog.

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    First Published Date: 24 Oct, 12:49 IST
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