EeHH.CO.UK

We Are The Future

Nasa spacecraft will crash into asteroid to test defence technology

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

 

Nasa spacecraft will crash into asteroid to test defence technology

Nasa is set to launch a mission that will see a spacecraft crash into an asteroid in a bid to smash it off course.

The double asteroid redirection test (Dart) will test defence technologies for preventing a hazardous asteroid impacting Earth.

It aims to prove that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it – called a kinetic impact – at roughly four miles per second (six kilometres per second).

The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of 1%.

(PA Graphics)

Provided by PA Media (PA Graphics)

But this will change the orbital period of the moonlet by several minutes – enough to be observed and measured using telescopes on Earth.

Dart’s target is not a threat to Earth, and is the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos (Greek for two forms), which orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos (Greek for twin).

Nasa says this system is a perfect testing ground to see if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course, should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future.

(PA Graphics)

 Provided by PA Media (PA Graphics)

While no known asteroid larger than 140 metres in size has a significant chance of hitting Earth for the next 100 years, only about 40% of those asteroids have been found as of October 2021.

Dart is scheduled to launch no earlier than 6.20am on  November 24 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, in the US.

Once launched, Dart will deploy roll out solar arrays (Rosa) to provide the solar power needed for its electric propulsion system.

(PA Graphics)

 Provided by PA Media (PA Graphics)

The spacecraft will demonstrate the Nasa evolutionary xenon thruster – commercial (Next-C) solar electric propulsion system as part of its in-space propulsion.

The system is based on the Dawn spacecraft propulsion system, and was developed at Nasa’s Glenn Research Centre in Cleveland, Ohio, in the US.

By using electric propulsion, Dart could benefit from significant flexibility to the mission timeline. 

Reference: By Nina Massey, PA Science Correspondent

Articles - Latest

Articles - Most Read

Social Media Links Genius

Login

Login

BREAKING NEWS FEEDS -TOP STORIES

All: BreakingNews.ie

Ireland's premier breaking news website providing up to the minute news and sports reports. With e-mail news releases following breaking stories throughout the day.

Who's On Line

We have 272 guests and one member online

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.

Ok
X

Right Click

No right click