What is “planetary defence”?
NASA is planning explode a spacecraft which will be traveling at a speed of 15,000 miles per hour that means 24,000 kph with an asteroid next year as a test which will be known as “planetary defence”.
This course will be determined by the Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART in order to decide whether this test can be an effective way to deflect the course of an asteroid that will threaten our Earth in coming future.
NASA has already provided us with the details for the DART mission. The mission carries a $330 million price tag, according to the details of NASA.
The spacecraft of DART has been scheduled to launched aboard on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on November 23 at 10:20 pm Pacific time.
The effect of this launching of the spacecraft will be visible on the asteroid between September 26 to October 1 of 2022 as the asteroid is some 6.8 million miles away from Earth.
Who is Dimorphos?
Dimorphos is the mane of the asteroid of the mission. This word means “two forms” in Greek. Though Dimorphos is not a threat to Earth, but NASA scientists has said that they are ideal candidates for this type of mission. The scientists will be able to observe the spacecraft and asteroid with ground-based telescopes.
The scientists have also planned to take pictures of the moment by a miniature camera-equipped satellite. This camera-equipped satellite has been contributed by an Italian Space Agency. This camera will be ejected by the spacecraft around 10 days before the explosion.
Who is Didymos?
Didymos means “twin” in Greek. This asteroid is larger than Dimorphos and Dimorphos completes an orbit around Didymos in every 11 hours and 55 minutes.
The “small nudge”
The spacecraft is of 1,210 pounds and this spacecraft is not going to “destroy” the asteroid but it will just be a “small nudge”. This small nudge is only going to deflect the path of Dimorphos.
This test has been designed by NASA scientists mainly to understand how much momentum is needed to deflect the path of an asteroid. If in near future one of such asteroid will come too close to Earth.