NASA Plans to Target an Asteroid with New Advanced Technology

NASA Plans to Target an Asteroid with New Advanced Technology

NASA is on a mission to test and make a double asteroid redirection machine to prevent potential hazardous asteroids from striking Earth. A binary near-Earth asteroid (65803) Didymos is the asteroid NASA will target the DART mission around.DART is a planetary defense-driven test of technologies for preventing an impact of Earth by a hazardous asteroid,” as previously quoted on nasa.gov

 

DART stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. The purpose of DART is to have a planetary defense to prevent asteroids from hitting the Earth. DART will try to change the motion of the hazardous asteroid in space. As stated on nasa.gov, the DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact deflection by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6.6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera, DRACO, and sophisticated autonomous navigation software. 

 

So far, the mission is on phase C, with DART soon attempting to target Didymos, a binary near-Earth asteroid for the DART demonstration. Didymos’ primary body is about 780 meters (2600 feet) across, while its secondary body is almost 160 meters in size, which is the more typical size of asteroids that can pose the most significant threat to Earth. Didymos is being intensely observed using telescopes on Earth to gauge its properties before DART arrives, previously stated on DART.

 

Creating something completely different means facing challenges along the way. According to Lead Dart Coordinator Nancy Chabot, facing Covid-19 was one of the biggest challenges. Despite this additional challenge, the DART team has developed, assembled, and tested the spacecraft such that it is now ready for launch. 

 

While creating DART, innovations such as SMART-Nav have been introduced to the space world. DART’s camera won’t be able to distinguish the small asteroid that is trying to hit until the last hour of the mission, so the spacecraft has to navigate itself autonomously to ensure it affects the asteroid. 

 

The DART mission is being directed by NASA to John Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory. As stated by NASA, Phase C of DART is currently being managed by NASA’s Planetary Defence Coordination Office and Science Mission Directorate’s Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

According to Nancy Chabot, the Dart Coordination Leader, “It’s going to be an exciting year for NASA’s DART mission. Stay tuned as the mission makes history by demonstrating how to deflect the asteroid.”