Historic! NASA's Hubble, James Webb Space Telescope to capture DART asteroid impact | Tech News

Historic! NASA's Hubble, James Webb Space Telescope to capture DART asteroid impact

NASA has announced that the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope will be observing the historic DART asteroid impact.

| Updated on: Sep 24 2022, 15:11 IST
NASA reveals stunning Jupiter images captured by James Webb Space Telescope
James Webb Space Telescope
1/6 Amazingly, currently, on Jupiter, there are auroras, storms, extreme temperatures and powerful winds stirring things up, according to NASA. The images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope could give scientists a look at the conditions of the gas giant. (NASA)
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2/6 Planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, professor emerita of the University of California, Berkeley said, “We hadn’t really expected it to be this good, to be honest. It’s really remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter together with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image.” (NASA)
James Webb Space Telescope
3/6 The images were captured by the telescope's Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument on July 27, which highlighted the planet's unique features. According to NASA, the NIRCam has three specialized infrared filters that showcase details of the planet. (AFP)
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4/6 The image was created by compositing several images. Auroras are visible near the Northern and Southern poles of the planet. According to NASA, the auroras shine in a filter that is mapped to redder colors, which also highlights light reflected from lower clouds and upper hazes. (NASA)
James Webb Space Telescope
5/6 The Great Red Spot as well as other clouds can be visible in the images as white since it is reflecting the sunlight. The Great Red Spot is a giant vortex which has been swirling around on Jupiter’s surface for a long time. Jupiter’s 2 moons, Amalthea and Adrastea can also be seen “photo-bombing” the planet. (REUTERS)
James Webb Space Telescope
6/6 Thierry Fouchet, a professor at the Paris Observatory, as part of an international collaboration for Webb’s Early Release Science program said, “This one image sums up the science of our Jupiter system program, which studies the dynamics and chemistry of Jupiter itself, its rings, and its satellite system.” (NASA/AFP)
James Webb Space Telescope
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The Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope will get the front row seats to the DART asteroid impact. (AP)

The entire scientific community is excited and anxious about the historic NASA DART asteroid impact on September 26. This will be the first time humanity will test out its defense capabilities in case an asteroid is ever headed towards its direction. And while there will be Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) live streams, which will show the images from the impact site just 3 minutes after the impact, NASA scientists do not want to miss even a second of the action. And that's why they have called upon the veteran Hubble Space Telescope and young star James Webb Space Telescope to observe the event live. But what can these two tech wonders achieve by observing the impact? Read on to find out.

What is the NASA DART asteroid mission?

The NASA DART asteroid mission is a test of planetary defense mechanisms that can be used in a contingency situation if Earth is facing an asteroid strike threat. In this mission a spacecraft has been sent to the Dimorphos asteroid to collide with it. The collision is expected to deflect the asteroid from its current trajectory. The test mission will help NASA learn about the amount of deflection that can be done, the velocity required for said deflection and other such information.

“This is a unique opportunity and a unique moment to take all the resources that we possibly can to maximize what we've learned”, Nancy Chabot, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Baltimore and the coordination lead for DART, said during a news conference, reported Space.com.

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Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb Space Telescope to watch the event

NASA will be collecting data from this impact in multiple ways. A cubesat has been placed on the spacecraft itself to document the event. It will send images as soon as three minutes after the impact. The European Space Agency (ESA) will also send a spacecraft later in 2026 to study the impact effects in detail. Apart from that, several ground based telescopes will also be live streaming the event. However, NASA has felt the need to take the services of the Hubble and Webb telescopes.

One of the reasons is that the space telescopes can provide a clearer image of the event without the disruption of Earth's atmosphere. Another reason is that these telescopes work on different spectrums and can collect different data that can help fill some gaps for the scientists.

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First Published Date: 24 Sep, 15:10 IST