Can a satellite be used to change the course of an asteroid? This week, NASA began its first sharp test of the technology.
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NASA has long thought about the possibility of changing the course of an asteroid on its way to Earth. One possible solution is to try to get it out of the way by force.
It’s 7.21 am on Wednesday morning Spacex launches a satellite Prepared for this purpose with a Falcon 9 rocket. The DART spacecraft will target the asteroid 65803 Didymos, which has a circumference of about 780 meters.
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Or, more precisely, the ultimate target is the tiny moon of Didymus, Dimorphos. It measures about 160 meters and is the target that the DART satellite must hit at a speed of about 6.6 kilometers per second. The DART satellite weighs just over 600 kilograms and is expected to reach its destination in September 2022.
It is also located on the back of the cube satellite from the Italian space agency ASI. This should be disconnected from the DART satellite ten days before the crash and should document the failure and send images back to Earth.
A follow-up mission is scheduled for 2024. At that time, the European Space Agency (ESA) will launch another spacecraft, called Hera, to Didymos. Hera will arrive five years after the crash of DART to study in detail how the asteroid was affected.
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