Science

NASA successfully impacted asteroid, changing it’s course

At 23:14 UST, NASA’s ‘DART MISSION’ successfully hit the bull’s eye on its target, which was a non-hazardous asteroid Dimorphos. 

The DART or The Double Asteroid Redirection Test aims to demonstrate that the path of an asteroid can be altered using a dummy impact on it. A vending machine sized spacecraft had a ‘kinetic impact’ on a stadium sized asteroid at the speed of around 22,500 km/h.

Mass of the spacecraft during impact was around 570 kilograms. Mass of Dimorphos has not been accurately measured, but by assumptions for its dimensions and density, it’s mass is expected to be around 5 billion kilograms, according to DART’s mission overview.

Due to perfectly inelastic collision, the velocity of asteroid is estimated to be increased by a factor of 9.2 millimeters per second in the direction of impact. Though it seems to be quiet a small number, but the deviation caused by it over a large span of time is comparable.

NASA’s full video before and during impact is uploaded on YouTube by NASA. The final 5.5 minutes before collision are shown 10 times faster than reality, except for the last six images which are shown at the same rate captured by the spacecraft.

2.5 minutes before the impact, the DRACO imager captured image from distance of 920 kilometer. The last image captured was one second before impact during which, spacecraft was 6 kilometers above the surface.

“This test hopes to show that Kinetic impact is a viable technology that could be deployed someday to prevent an asteroid hitting the earth, should one be discovered. There are no known asteroid threats to Earth for at least the next 100 years,” NASA said on Instagram, celebrating successful impact. 

ARTICLE: CHAITANYA DIVYESH PATEL

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: FT.COM

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