Wow! James Webb, Hubble telescopes to snap NASA's 500kg DART craft crashing into asteroid

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will crash a 500kg craft into an asteroid; James Webb, Hubble to capture it.

| Updated on: Sep 23 2022, 23:55 IST
In Pics: Huge asteroid heading for Earth today! NASA issues warning
1/5 In the midst of numerous small asteroids passing by Earth closely these past couple of months, NASA has issued a warning that a gigantic asteroid is dangerously heading for our planet. This asteroid, named Asteroid 2022 RW is colossal in size. But will the asteroid impact the planet and extinguish all life on Earth? Or will it just miss the planet by enough distance to prevent any catastrophe? (Pixabay)
2/5 Asteroid 2008 RW is already on its way towards Earth travelling at a staggering speed of 36,720 and will just miss the planet today, September 12. It will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 6.7 million kilometers, according to NASA. NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has warned that Asteroid 2008 RW is nearly 310 feet wide, which is nearly the size of a skyscraper. (Pixabay)
3/5 According to, the Asteroid 2008 RW was discovered on September 8, 2008 and belongs to the main Apollo group of asteroids. The asteroid 's farthest point from the Sun is 456 million kilometers, and the nearest point to the Sun is 139 million kilometers. Asteroid 2008 RW takes 1023 days to complete one orbit around the Sun. (Pixabay)
4/5 NASA currently has a NEO Observations Program in place to track, and characterize at least 90 percent of the NEOs that are 140 meters or larger in size. Most of the asteroids are observed with the help of the NEOWISE Project which repurposed NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer to work as a survey telescope and scan the sky for Near-Earth Objects. (NASA)
5/5 NASA JPL also uses a variety of ground-based telescopes in the hunt for these asteroids. NASA JPL’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has also recently developed a next-generation asteroid impact monitoring system which has gone online. (HT_PRINT)
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NASA will deflect an asteroid on Sept. 26 and James Webb Hubble telescopes will snap the moment. (Bloomberg)

NASA is all set to make an attempt to deflect an asteroid via the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) on September 26. The process would involve crashing a 500kg spacecraft into binary asteroid 65803 Didymos' moonlet Dimorphous to change its trajectory. And the historic moment will be captured by James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope. The powerful telescopes that are already exploring the space will capture this live view of the moment of impact as NASA will turn them towards the DART impact that will take place at 7:14 p.m. EDT (2314 GMT). As per the report, DART will arrive at Didymos in September and will crash into Dimorphous at about 15,000 miles per hour.

However, scientists are not sure about how good these space-based observations will turn out. Nancy Chabot, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the coordination lead for DART said, "Let me just stress here, this is not what JWST is designed to do; this is a challenging measurement for them."

Nasa shared that Dimorphos is much closer and moves much faster than the distant galaxies that JWST is designed for. They added that JWST will begin its observations a few minutes after impact whereas Hubble telescope will begin observations about 15 minutes after impact as it will be on the wrong side of Earth at the moment of impact. Tom Statler, DART program scientist earlier said, "Hubble won't actually catch the exact moment of impact. That's OK because we don't really expect anything to be really observable from the exact moment of impact.”

Launched in November 2021, DART will deflect an asteroid by using kinetic impact. The DART is designed to smash a spacecraft into the smaller member of the binary asteroid system. It's a part of NASA's larger planetary defense strategy to safeguard Earth in case of an asteroid posing threat to earth. However, the asteroid system is not a threat to our planet.

The DART mission is built and operated by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), under the direction of NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).

According to Nasa, the data from the crash will help scientists create mini-impacts in a lab and build sophisticated computer models based on these results.

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First Published Date: 23 Sep, 23:55 IST
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