Nasa Dart Asteroid Spacecraft Mission Will Crash into Dimorphos

The Changes Generated in Orbit After the Collision of Dart with Dimorphous Would Be Measured from Earth Through Telescopes

A spacecraft has recently been launched from Earth into space on a mission for testing of technology that might one day be able to tip the course of a dangerous asteroid that could collide with Earth. The mission of the Nasa Dart asteroid spacecraft wants to check the level of difficulty that could be experienced to stop an enormous rock in space from having a direct collision with our planet.

Dart mission

The Nasa Dart asteroid spacecraft would crash into a space object which is called a Dimorphos, to check how much of the path and speed of the spacecraft can be safely altered. In case a chunk of the many cosmic debris, which the hypothetical measurement of a couple of hundred meters in diameter, were to have a collision with Earth, this sudden and massive impact would cause a devastating continent-wide situation.

On Wednesday, a Falcon 9 rocket was able to carry the Nasa Dart asteroid spacecraft after being launched from the Vandenberg Space Force Base located in California at 06:20 GMT. The formation of the Dart spacecraft is the very first attempt to provide a potential deflection of a stray asteroid for the main purpose to gain enough knowledge to protect our planet from mass destruction through this particular asteroid that is being demolished through the Nasa Dart asteroid spacecraft pose no such threat to Earth.

The planetary defense coordination office of Nasa gave a statement that the Dart spacecraft would only change the period of orbit of the Dimorphous asteroid by a small amount. And this is the only requirement that would be needed in case an asteroid might come straight towards Earth for impact and is discovered ahead of time.

Regarding the launch, they said that the current mission is a huge step along the way if they can get out of Dimorphous safely.

Removal of possible collisions

Asteroids are the building blocks that are drifting in the Solar System. In a rare turn of events that a stray rock in the space that is orbiting around the Sun crossed the orbit of the Earth, and they intersect at the same time, a massive collision would occur.

The Nasa Dart asteroid spacecraft mission, which is worth $325 million, will be targeting a pair of space debris that are orbiting in close proximity to each other and are known as binary. The larger of the two asteroids, which is known as Didymos, is measured to be about 780 meters in width. Meanwhile, the smaller counterpart, named Dimorphous, has a width of around 160 meters.

Other objects in space that have the same size as Dimorphous could explode with energy that is multiplied several times to the explosion size of a typical nuclear bomb and has enormously devastating effects over heavily populated regions of the Earth, along with causing millions of casualties in the time duration of just a few minutes. Those asteroids that have a diameter of around 300 meters or greater have the potential to cause the destruction of entire continents; meanwhile, those space rocks that are over 1 kilometer in width would be able to produce effects involving the entire planet.

After being able to escape from the gravity of Earth, the Nasa Dart asteroid spacecraft would be following its own separate orbit around the Sun. It would then be intercepting the binary as it will be approaching the space within 6.7 million miles of our planet in the month of September next year. The spacecraft used in the Dart operation would then have a direct impact with the Dimorphous moonlet after gaining the speed of about 15,000 mph in space. This massive amount of accelerated direct hit on the asteroid should allow some small number of changes in the speed of the revolving object by a tiny fraction which would be equal to about a millimeter per second, and in turn, would alter the orbit that is present around Didymos.

The amount of shift is ridiculously small in comparison, but the amount generated by the Nasa Dart asteroid spacecraft is enough to knock the space debris off a collision course that is headed towards Earth.

In the year 2005, Congress has given direction to Nasa for the discovery and tracking of 90% of the asteroids that are present in near proximity to the Earth and have a diameter of more than 140 meters. Up till now, no asteroid has been reported to be a possible immediate threat to our planet from this category, but it has been estimated that only about 40$ of the total asteroids have yet been accounted for.

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