WATCH history being made: NASA crashes spacecraft against Asteroid Dimorphos | Tech News

WATCH history being made: NASA crashes spacecraft against Asteroid Dimorphos

NASA reaches a historic milestone by crashing the DART spacecraft into the Dimorphos. Watch the video.

| Updated on: Sep 27 2022, 16:11 IST
In Pics: Historic $300 mn NASA DART asteroid collision a success; 1st step to save Earth
DART mission
1/5 DART mission is NASA’s $330 million first step to protect the planet against asteroids against potential impact. The aim of the mission was to smash a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid to deflect it away from its path. This test will help scientists gain greater knowledge as to what happens when a craft is crashed against a space rock. (AP)
DART mission
2/5 After months of anticipation, this test took place during today’s early hours when the DART spacecraft sacrificed itself by colliding with Dimorphos asteroid at 7:14 p.m. EDT. According to NASA, Dimorphos is an asteroid moonlet just 530 feet in width and orbits a larger asteroid called Didymos, nearly 5 times its size. (NASA)
DART mission
3/5 NASA DART test was captured by a small companion satellite which followed the DART spacecraft to the target asteroid Dimorphos. The spacecraft’s camera is a cubeSAT called LICIACube (Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging Asteroids). The cubeSAT is made up of two key components, LUKE (LICIACube Unit Key Explorer) and LEIA (LICIACube Explorer Imaging for Asteroid), both of which capture key data from the collision. (Bloomberg)
DART mission
4/5 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 using its CubeSAT satellite to conduct a radar probe of the asteroid after the collision (ESA)
DART mission
5/5 Tech behind DART spacecraft - Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) along with Small-body Maneuvering Autonomous Real Time Navigation (SMART Nav) algorithms aboard the DART spacecraft allowed it to distinguish between the larger Didymos and its target Dimorphos, striking the asteroid with precision accuracy, according to NASA. (NASA )
DART mission
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NASA has successfully completed the hitoric DART mission and crashed a spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos. Check out the video. (NASA)

In the early hours of September 27, NASA did something historic. The US space agency took a spacecraft packed with the latest tech, remotely operated it and took it 6.8 million miles away and then intentionally crashed it into an asteroid at the speed of 14400 miles per hour. The Double Asteroid redirection Test or the DART mission is one of the most ambitious projects of NASA because it does not directly serve the purpose of exploration of space but rather developing a defense mechanism to protect us from a planet killer asteroid strike. And today's mission was an important step in that direction. Read on to know the details and to watch the video capturing the historic moment.

Posting the monumental video to its Twitter handle, NASA said, “Did you catch the #DARTMission stream live or Didymos it? Impact is over, but the research continues”. During the event, a NASA official said, “This is the first time in history that humans have attempted to move a celestial body”. And this is just one of the reasons why the successful conclusion of this mission is essentially being considered to be a major step forward in technological progress of humanity.

NASA DART mission successfully concludes

During the last few seconds, as the spacecraft goes near the Dimorphos asteroid, the video highlights a clearer image of the space rock. The image which just highlighted a white blob in space for the majority of the livestream, suddenly came to life and began showing all the dirt and pebbles and the rough surface with edged rocks on the asteroid.

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The image kept getting clearer as the asteroid moved closer till the video went out which meant that the spacecraft had collided with Asteroid Dimorphous. You can watch the video below.

Now, the real work begins for NASA. The next few days will be spent collating data from various sources and analyzing the impact of the crash. Then the team will have to observe the asteroid to see if a real-life change to its orbit did happen because of the crash. If not, then the test failed. NASA has set a standard to determine their success. If the orbital time of the asteroid is reduced by 73 seconds, the mission will be considered successful. And finally, in 2026, the European Space Agency (ESA) will send another tech marvel, a spacecraft called Hera, to study the long term consequences of the DART asteroid strike.

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First Published Date: 27 Sep, 15:51 IST