NASA launches DART: NASA has today launched the first of its kind ‘DART mission’ to save the Earth. The spacecraft took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 11.50 pm Indian time. This spacecraft will go into space and collide with a meteorite. After the collision, it can be ascertained how much the speed and direction of a meteorite can be changed so that it does not hit the earth.
First, understand what is the mission of NASA?
NASA launches DART, they have titled this mission DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test). In the mission, NASA will attempt to find out how a meteorite coming towards Earth from space can be stopped from hitting the Earth.
As part of the mission, NASA launches DART. This spacecraft will clash with a meteorite named Didymos. After this, it will be found out what has altered in the speed and direction of Didymos due to the collision. On this rationale, it will be evaluated that how much can change the speed and direction of any meteorite. The expense of the mission is around INR 2,000 crore.
NASA launches DART, Know about the meteorite that the spacecraft will collide:
The spacecraft will hit a meteorite called Didymos. Didymos is 2 part meteorite. It was first detected in 1996. The major fraction of this meteorite is dissipated in about 780 meters, which is called Didymos. At the same time, the small part is dissipated in about 160 meters, which is named dimorphous. At present, the tinier part (Dimorphus) is orbiting the larger part (Dydymos).
However, Didymos will never hit the Earth, so it presents no threat to us. This is the reason why NASA has selected it for its mission, so that in the future if such a meteorite comes towards the Earth, then how can it be kept away.
One of the justifications for selecting Didymos for the mission is that in 2003 it ratified close to the Earth. In 2022, it will pass likewise near the earth.
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Do you want to understand how the whole mission will work?
The main aspect of the mission is an impactor. This impactor will strike the small part of the meteorite at a speed of approximately 23,760 km per hour. Due to the hit, the speed of this part of the meteorite will reduce to 1%. This will cause an alteration in its orbit.
Part of the task is also a secondary spacecraft, manufactured by the Italian Space Agency. Its name is LICIACube. This secondary spacecraft will segregate from the main spacecraft two days before the collision. Its task will be to transmit photos and other information to Earth during the collision so that updates about the mission will be accessible.
NASA launches DART, What is the importance of this mission?
You must be assuming that such a small change in direction and speed will make any discrepancy, but the thing to appreciate is that meteorites keep pushing here and there for years in space. If there is even a slight difference in speed and direction, then this change will evolve bigger with time. Experts explain that due to small changes in speed and direction, either the meteorite will not hit the earth, or even if it will collide, we can get some time to prepare, which will lessen the damage.
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How crucial this mission is, can be assessed from the fact that if a meteorite of 100 meters hits the earth, then it can result in havoc on an entire continent.