NASA DART spacecraft takes off to try to deflect asteroid

The POT threw a spaceship this tuesday in a mission to crash into a asteroid and test if it would be possible divert from his course a space rock if any threatened the Land in the future.

The dart ship, acronym in English for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, left the Vandenberg Air Base of the Space Force aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Spacex, a Proyect of 330 million dollars reminiscent of the Bruce Willis movie “Armageddon”.

If all goes well, the ship will crash in September 2022 against Dimorphos, an asteroid 160 meters wide, at a speed of 24,139 kilometers per hour.

This is not going to destroy the asteroid. It’s just going to give it a little push, ”explained mission director Nancy Chabot of the Johns Hopkins Laboratory for Applied Physics.

Dimorphos orbits a much larger asteroid named Didymos. Neither poses a threat to the Land, But they offer scientists a way to determine the effectiveness of the collision.

Dimorphos completes an orbit of Didymos every 11 hours and 55 minutes. The objective of Dart is that the collision slows Dimorphos and brings the largest asteroid closer, which would reduce its orbit by 10 minutes.

The change will be measured with telescopes from Earth.

The minimum change to consider the mission a success is 73 seconds.

The Dart technique could prove useful in modifying the course of an asteroid years or decades before it approaches Earth to cause a possible catastrophe.

A little push “would make a big change in its future position, and then the asteroid and Earth would no longer be on a collision course,” Chabot explained.

DART will take 10 months to reach the asteroids and the collision will occur about 11 million kilometers from Earth.

Ten days prior, the DART will release a small observation ship provided by the Italian space agency that will follow it.

DART will broadcast live video until destroyed by impact. Three minutes later, the ship that follows it will take images of the impact site and the ejected material.