• DART(Double Asteroid Redirection Test), first planetary defense test mission, will be launched by NASA.
  • The ‘DART’ spacecraft will be launched by SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Mission Objective:

  • This mission will test new technology to be prepared in case of any asteroid / asteroid coming towards Earth in future.
  • It aims to test newly developed technology that would allow a spacecraft to hit an asteroid and change its direction.
  • After the spacecraft collides with the asteroid, scientists will study its effect on the asteroid’s trajectory with telescopes on Earth.
  • ‘DART’ will be the first test of kinetic impactor technology to change the speed of an asteroid in space.
  • The target of this spacecraft is a small moon, which is called ‘Dimorphos’ (Greek for ‘two forms’).
  • Dimorphos orbits a large asteroid called ‘Dydymos’ (Greek for ‘twin’).
  • This is a suicide mission and the spacecraft will be completely destroyed.
  • The collision between the spacecraft and the asteroid is likely between September 26 and October 1, 2022.

About the mission:

  • ‘DART’ is a low cost spacecraft.
  • It consists of two solar arrays and uses hydrazine propellant to propel the spacecraft.
  • It also carries about 10 kg of Xenon that will be used to demonstrate the new thrusters, called the NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial (NEXT-C).
  • The NEXT-C graded ion thruster system provides a combination of performance and spacecraft integration capabilities, making it uniquely suited for space robotic missions.
  • The spacecraft carries a high-resolution imager called the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical Navigation (DRACO).
  • Images from ‘DRACO’ will be sent to Earth in real time and will help in studying the impact site and surface of Dimorphos (target asteroid).
  • Also, this mission will also carry a small satellite or CubeSat named ‘LICIACube’ (Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids).
  • Will capture images of impact and crater created as a result of collision with ‘LICIACube’.

Reason for the selection of ‘Dimorphos’:

  • Didymos is an ideal body for a test mission, as it is an ‘eclipsing binary’ which means it has a moon that regularly orbits the asteroid and can be seen when it passes in front of the main asteroid.
  • Telescopes on Earth can study it to understand how long it takes Dimorphos to orbit Didymos.
No Comments

Post A Comment