Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)

Spacex to Launch NASA’s Asteroid-Smashing Mission. Which will blast off in June 2021 and this will smash into the asteroid’s moon around October 2022

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is a spacecraft designed to determine whether an asteroid can be redirected with a high-speed collision.

SpaceX will launch the spacecraft toward an asteroid named Didymos about 4 million miles from Earth into the asteroid’s small moon at about 13,000 miles per hour.

About About the DART:

Dart would be NASA’S first mission to demonstrate what is known as the kinetic impactor technique striking the asteroid to shift its orbit to defend against a potential future asteroid impact.

  • DART would impact only the smaller of the two bodies, Didymos B. The Didymos system has been closely studied since 2003. The primary body is a rocky S-type object with composition similar to that of many asteroids.
  • The composition of its small companion Didymos B is unknown but the size is typical of asteroids that could potentially create regional effects on Earth. After launch DART would fly to Didymos and use an APL-developed onboard autonomous targeting system to aim itself at Didymos B.
  • When it strikes the smaller body at a speed about nine times faster than bullet earth-based observatories would be able to see the impact and the resulting change in the orbit of Didymos B around Didymos A.

This kinetic impact technique works by changing the speed of a threatening asteroid by a small fraction of its total velocity but by doing it well before the predicted impact so that this small nudge will add up over time to a big shift of the asteroid’s path away from Earth.

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