Mon 26 September 2022:
In an effort to test a technology to protect Earth against potential asteroids or comet hazards in the future, a NASA spacecraft was set to smash into an asteroid early on Tuesday
The first mission of its kind, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), was scheduled to strike its target asteroid at 7:14 p.m. on Monday (4.44 a.m. on Tuesday IST).
“This test will show a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it to change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be measured using ground-based telescopes,” the US space agency said in an update.
DART’s target is the binary, near-Earth asteroid system Didymos, composed of the roughly 780-metre diameter “Didymos” and the smaller, approximately 160-metre size “Dimorphos”, which orbits Didymos.
“Doing so will evaluate the effectiveness of this mitigation approach and assess how best to apply it to future planetary defense scenarios, as well as how accurate the computer simulations are and how well they reflect the behaviour of a real asteroid,” the space agency added.
DART will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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