In the first-of-its kind NASA’s DART Mission is about to hit a small, harmless asteroid millions of miles away.
GS II: Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About NASA’s DART Mission
- Why Dimorphos?
- Why such mission?
About NASA’s DART Mission
- The mission’s primary objective is to evaluate recently created technology that would enable a spacecraft to collide with an asteroid and alter its course.
- Since the spacecraft will be entirely destroyed, it is a suicide mission.
- The spacecraft is aiming for a tiny moonlet dubbed Dimorphos, which is Greek for “two forms.”
- The 160-meter-diameter spaceship is anticipated to collide with Earth when it is 11 million kilometres away.
- The asteroid Dimorphos circles Didymos, which is Greek for “twin,” and has a diameter of 780 metres.
- Since Didymos is an eclipsing binary with a moonlet that orbits the asteroid on a regular basis, it is the ideal system for the test mission.
- When it moves in front of the primary asteroid, it can be seen.
- This brightness variation can be investigated by telescopes on Earth to determine how long it takes Dimorphos to orbit Didymos.
Why such mission?
- Dimorphos was chosen for this mission because its size is relative to asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth.
- The spacecraft is about 100 times smaller than Dimorphos, so it won’t obliterate the asteroid.
- The fast impact will only change Dimorphos’ speed as it orbits Didymos by 1%, which doesn’t sound like a lot — but it will change the moon’s orbital period.
-Source: Indian Express