Nasa launches asteroid-deflecting spacecraft on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

Nasa launches asteroid-deflecting spacecraft on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket




launched a Tuesday night on a mission to smash into an asteroid and test whether it would be possible to knock a speeding space rock off course if one were to threaten Earth. The DART spacecraft, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 in a $324 million project with echoes of the Bruce Willis movie “Armageddon.”


The $324 million DART mission is unusual for NASA, a civilian agency that focuses mainly on exploration, climate monitoring and hunting for signs of past life in our solar system. While it coordinates with and relies on the US Department of Defense for some activities, has not traditionally been responsible for leading efforts to protect the United States — or Earth, for that matter — from any security threat.





If all goes well, the boxy, 1,200-pound (540-kilogram) craft will slam head-on into Dimorphos, an asteroid 525 feet (160 meters) across, at 15,000 mph (24,139 kph) next September.


“This isn’t going to destroy the asteroid. It’s just going to give it a small nudge,” said mission official Nancy Chabot of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which is managing the project.


chart



Dimorphos orbits a much larger asteroid called Didymos. The pair are no danger to Earth but offer scientists a better way to measure the effectiveness of a collision than a single asteroid flying through space.


Dimorphos completes one orbit of Didymos every 11 hours, 55 minutes. DART’s goal is a crash that will slow Dimorphos down and cause it to fall closer toward the bigger asteroid, shaving 10 minutes off its orbit. The change in the orbital period will be measured by telescopes on Earth. The minimum change for the mission to be considered a success is 73 seconds. The DART technique could prove useful for altering the course of an asteroid years or decades before it bears down on Earth with the potential for catastrophe.


A small nudge “would add up to a big change in its future position, and then the asteroid and the Earth wouldn’t be on a collision course,” Chabot said. With inputs from NYT

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *