HomeScienceThe Impact of NASA’s DART Mission in Detail

The Impact of NASA’s DART Mission in Detail

Credit: NASA

On Sept. 26, 2021, NASA conducted the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission to permanently changed an asteroid’s orbital period.

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It’s a test of a planetary defense technique that could be used to protect Earth, just in case we need one.

Just weeks after the collision, NASA announced that the asteroid, called Dimorphos, the orbital period has significantly changed.

It had moved from 11 hours and 55 minutes to 11 hours and 23 minutes.

DART scientists updated the calculation to 33 minutes during the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union last month in Chicago.

A planetary scientist at Northern Arizona University, Cristina Thomas, leads the DART observations working group.

Determining the correct amount of Dimorphos’ orbit change is essential since scientists need to understand an effective asteroid intervention.

A planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Carolyn Ernst, presented another intriguing fact during her presentation.

The spacecraft crashed on a trajectory about 73 degrees above the asteroid’s surface.

Hence, the trajectory is almost vertical.

This information is valuable as the angle influences how much a collision changes Dimorphos’ path.

However, we won’t see the wreckage until 2026, when the Hera mission arrives at the Didymos system.

Here is designed to stay awhile and learn about the two asteroids in detail, along with two small hitchhiker spacecraft.

DART mission is crucial to determine a perfect planetary defense technique to protect Earth in the future.

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Reananda Hidayat Permono
Reananda Hidayat Permono
Completed his Master of Science - MS, Petroleum Geology from Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

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