Historic! NASA DART mission to deflect giant 560-foot asteroid today

NASA's DART mission is set to take place today in a bid to deflect an asteroid from its course. Here’s what you need to know about this NASA mission.

| Updated on: Sep 26 2022, 21:20 IST
NASA DART Mission in pics: Amazing Attack on Asteroid!
1/6 NASA with its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission spacecraft is all set to collide with a non-hazardous asteroid called Dimorphos in order to test planetary defence on Monday, September 26. The learnings from this asteroid attack will be used to protect Earth from asteroids that are heading for a collision with our planet. According to NASA, this will be the world's first mission to deflect an asteroid in space. NASA’s DART, built and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, will demonstrate and test asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor. (Bloomberg)
2/6 Dimorphos, the asteroid moonlet of Didymos poses no threat to Earth. The DART spacecraft had recently got its first look at Didymos, the double-asteroid system that includes its target, Dimorphos. It is being said that in 2024, the European Space Agency (ESA) will send a space probe to Dimorphos as part of the space mission HERA. The aim of the mission is to visually investigate the aftermath of the DART probe impact. (NASA )
3/6 When to watch: The live broadcast of the event will start on September 26 at 6 p.m., EDT. The spacecraft will impact its target asteroid at 7:14 p.m. EDT, while at 8:00 p.m. ET, the research organisation will host a post-impact press briefing. (AFP)
4/6 Where to watch: The historic collision can be watched live online as NASA will be broadcasting the same. NASA will broadcast the live coverage of DART’s impact with the asteroid Dimorphos on NASA TV and its several social media handles like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. (AFP)
DART spacecraft
5/6 About asteroids: According to NASA, More than 100 tons of dust and sand sized particles are bombarded towards Earth everyday. While, about once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface. Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area. Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth's civilization comes along. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences. (AP)
6/6 Space rocks smaller than about 25 meters (about 82 feet) will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and cause little or no damage. By comparison, asteroids that populate the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and pose no threat to Earth, can be as big as 940 kilometers (about 583 miles) across. (MINT_PRINT)
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Know more about this NASA mission to smash a spacecraft into an asteroid. (NASA )

Apocalyptic movies like Armageddon, Deep Impact and even Armageddon have explored the possibility of total annihilation when an asteroid threatns to strike Earth. These “What Ifs” of world destruction have always captured the minds of sci-fi geeks. But what if an asteroid actually comes towards Earth? Would our planet survive or would there be total annihilation? It seems NASA scientists have similar queries as the space agency has got its test ready to conduct its first ever planetary defense test and it is all happening today.

NASA has had a plan in the works for a long time to deflect a giant asteroid off its course by smashing an spacecraft into it. It is a $324 million mission by NASA called the Double Asteroid Detection Test or DART. The aim of the mission is to smash a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid to deflect it away from its path. While this asteroid in no way threatens Earth, the NASA asteroid mission is to carry out an experiment to gain greater knowledge as to what happens when a craft is crashed against a space rock. This knowledge will be used if an actual asteroid threatens to crash into the Earth.

The DART mission has already sent the main spacecraft to space in November, 2021. It includes a satellite made by the Italian Space Agency. Another spacecraft is set to measure the impact. The DART spacecraft is set to collide with its target asteroid on September 26. The target asteroid is Dimorphos which is nearly 560 feet in width. The asteroid orbits a parent asteroid which is 5 times its size.

After the collision, the European Space Agency's Hera spacecraft will fly to the asteroid to survey the aftermath of impact and gather information such as the size of impact crater, the mass of the asteroid and its make-up and internal structure.

DART Mission's first planetary defense test is set to take place today, August 26 at 7:14 p.m. EDT or 4:44 a.m. IST when the spacecraft will impact the target asteroid. The live coverage of the event will begin at 6:00 p.m. EDT or 3:30 a.m. IST.

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First Published Date: 26 Sep, 21:17 IST