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NASA DART mission Crash Craft to Redirect Asteroid

NASA’s DART mission, which is expected to launch next month, will show a technique that could prevent an asteroid from striking Earth. The mission is called Double Asteroid Redirection Test. The mission is done for NASA by the John Hopkins Applied Physics laboratory. The launch is scheduled for 10:20 p.m. PT Nov. 23 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California

The space agency said that this DART mission will be the first to show the kinetic impactor techniques to change the motion of an asteroid in space. DART will hitch a ride aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to a near-Earth asteroid system called (65803) Didymos.

NASA said that mission comprises a 780-meter-wide body orbited by a 160-meter-wide moonlet. It is more typical of the size of asteroids that could pose a significant threat to Earth. NASA said that Aided by cameras and autonomous navigation systems, DART will crash into the moonlet at 6.6 kilometres per second.

NASA said that the collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of 1%, but this will change the orbital period of the moonlet by several minutes enough to be observed and measured using telescopes on Earth. The spacecraft will separate from the rocket and cruise for about a year before it is expected to intercept (65803) Didymos in September 2022.

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