NASA launches first-of-its-kind mission to clear an asteroid

0
25

US house company NASA on Wednesday launched a mission from California to deliberately crash a spacecraft into an asteroid. “Asteroid Dimorphos: We’re Coming For You!” NASA tweeted after the launch.

It could sound like science fiction, however DART (the double asteroid redirection take a look at) is a real proof-of-concept experiment, ought to humanity ever have to cease an enormous house rock from wiping out life on Earth.

Dart took off aboard a SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg House Power Base at 10:21 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday (0621 GMT Wednesday).

What’s the aim of the mission?

The aim is to barely change the trajectory of Dimorphos, a “moonlight” roughly 525 ft (160 m, or two Statue of Liberty) broad that encircles a a lot bigger asteroid known as Didymos (2,500 ft in diameter). This pair orbits the Solar collectively.

When will the impact occur?

In accordance with NASA’s Planetary Protection Coordination Workplace, the impression ought to happen within the fall of 2022, between September 26 and October 1. This would be the identical time that the binary asteroid system shall be 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers) away from Earth, information company AFP reported.

“What we’re making an attempt to study is find out how to handle a menace,” Thomas Zuburchen, prime NASA scientist, mentioned of the $330 million venture, the primary of its form.

Do asteroids pose a menace?

To be clear, the asteroids in query pose no menace to our planet. However they belong to a category of objects often known as Close to-Earth Objects (NEOs), which attain inside 30 million miles.

NASA’s Planetary Protection Coordination Workplace is most excited about lots bigger than 460 ft, which have the potential to flatten total cities or areas with vitality many instances the vitality of a mean nuclear bomb.

There are 10,000 identified near-Earth asteroids that measure 460 ft or extra in dimension, however none have a big likelihood of being hit within the subsequent 100 years. One main caveat: Scientists assume there are nonetheless 15,000 extra such objects to be found.

Scientists say the Didymos-Dimorphos system is an “supreme pure laboratory” as a result of Earth-based telescopes can simply measure the pair’s brightness variations and choose the time it takes the Moon to orbit its larger brother .

(with company enter)