NASA spacecraft dart ‘Armageddon’ test success… exactly hit an asteroid

A spacecraft that flew into space for an experiment to change the asteroid’s orbit accurately collided with the target asteroid ‘Dimorphos’ on the 27th (Korean time).

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that at 8:14 a.m. on the same day, the DART (dual asteroid orbital modification experiment) spacecraft became a ‘kinetic impactor’ and reached Dimorphos at a speed of 6.1 km/s. said that the collision was successful.

NASA broadcasted the crash process live from an hour before the crash through the official YouTube channel, releasing images transmitted by the spacecraft in real time until just before the crash.

Imagination of the launch and separation process of the 'dart spaceship'.  Photo: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

An asteroid with a diameter of 160 m, Dimorphus, located at a distance of 10.8 million km from Earth, is the subject of this experiment. The asteroid was orbiting Didymos (780 m in diameter), which is five times larger, at a rate of 17 cm per second at a distance of 1.2 km at an interval of 11 hours and 55 minutes.

Darts Mission Timeline and Didymos-Dimorphos Dual Asteroid.  Photo: NASA/Johns Hopkins University.  Graphic = Reporter Choi Seong-hoon

NASA plans to study how a dart spacecraft the size of a vending machine will change its orbit when it collides with Dimorphos the size of a football field. This is to push the orbit of Dimorphus closer to Didymos and reduce the orbital speed by 1%.

The Italian Cubesat ‘LICIACube’, which was separated from the Dart spacecraft 10 days ago, is examining the results of the collision, and over the next several weeks, ground and space telescopes will monitor the orbit change.

This is the first time that humans have tested a strategy to defend the Earth from an asteroid impact on an actual asteroid, and it is expected that the Earth defense strategy will leave the laboratory and become a reality.

Reporter Seo Hee-won ([email protected])

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *