On November 23, the DART mission of NASA from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California will be aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. How the motion of a near-Earth asteroid in space will be impacted by NASA’s asteroid deflection technology will be tested in September 2022.
Dimorphos is a small moon orbiting the near-Earth asteroid Didymos is the target of this asteroid deflection technology. On behalf of planetary defense, this will be NASA’s 1st full-scale demonstration of this type of technology. The primary focus of NASA and other space organizations worldwide is to detect the threat of near-Earth objects that could potentially cause grave harm.
A binary system was found two decades ago, which involves a near-Earth asteroid, and it has a moon Didymos orbiting it. In Greek, Didymos means twin. The moon Dimorphos is named by a planetary scientist Kleomenis Tsiganis, at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and a member of the DART team. Dimorphos means two forms. It will be known to people in two very different forms, and this will be 1st of its kind. The one is seen by DART before impact, and a few years later, the other is seen by ESA.
In September 2022, Didymos and Dimorphos will be within 6,835,083 miles from Earth. For the Dart Mission to occur, it is a perfect time. To change the asteroid’s motion in space, DART will deliberately crash into Dimorphos, NASA said. LICIACube, a companion CubeSat, this collision will be recorded which is provided by the Italian Space Agency. On DART, the CubeSat will and then be deployed from it before impact, and then it will record what happens.
An earth-based telescope will help astronomers to make observations, and this will, in turn, help them to compare before and after DART’s kinetic impact. The purpose is to determine how much the orbital period of Dimorphos changed. A few years later after the impact, a follow-up investigation of Dimorphos and Didymos will be conducted by ESA’s Hera mission.
For NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office, the Dart mission was developed, and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory manages it. The mission team will work with the Hera mission team under an international collaboration known as the Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment, or AIDA. For hazardous asteroids, deflection DART is the first step in testing methods. According to NASA, Potentially dangerous asteroids are a global concern.
The reason to choose Dimorphos for this mission as it could threaten Earth. DART will crash into Dimorphos, moving at 14,763.8 miles per hour. To detect and collide with Dimorphos, the spacecraft will be helped by autonomous navigation software and a camera. Dimorphos’ speed as it orbits Didymos will change by 1% after this impact. The moon’s orbital period will be changed by several minutes. From a ground-based telescope on Earth, that change can be observed and measured.
It will also be the 1st time humans have altered the dynamics of a solar system body measurably. Hera will arrive to study Dimorphos three years after the impact. It will measure the moon’s physical properties, analyzing the DART impact, and will check its orbit.