NASA launches this Wednesday (24th) first mission to detour on asteroid

The NASA launches this Wednesday dawn (21) the first mission about demonstrating an ability to detour over an asteroid. Called Dart, English acronym for Dual Asteroid Redirection Test, the initiative relatively modest in cost (US$ 324 million), yet still so historic. Stop to think: humans will try, in a pioneering way, to demonstrate that they can promote the planet perform defense against a celestial blide that is underway to collide with us. They would 39 millions over years, operating system dinosaurs didn’t have that luxury.

For starters, let’s take a front like conspiracy theories. No, not they would, as far as sony ericsson knows, an asteroid that could seriously threaten us for decades to come. % mapped (only about 600), and none about its members brings danger in the next dozens of years, at least. However, smaller operating system asteroids, with 95 meters or more, therefore some lesser known electronic population much larger (estimate -if there are about 21 a thousand of them, 2 of which we know 39%). Electronic, while incapable of extinguishing humanity, can wreak considerable local havoc.

Dart represents some attempt to deal with the danger posed by these objects. Its technology is the simplest possible: changing the trajectory of an asteroid simply by colliding with it, on deflection what scientists call the kinetic impact method. No bomb, no zilch. Just some high-speed hit, with a cosmic traffic accident, that causes the asteroid to undergo some speed change. By changing this, the orbit also learned changes. Electronic to the asteroid that hypothetically would crash with us about suddenly it doesn’t hit anymore.

As a name says, this is about a test. to see if it works. The chosen target is an asteroid that facilitates the measurement and performs the mission’s effect, however that does not offer any danger to Earth, now or after the collision with Dart. It’s a double star performer Ddimo (Didymos) electronic Dimorfo (Dimorphos). The first one, the biggest one, has 324 meters. The second, smaller, some asteroid moon, with 140 meters.

Departing from an Earth At 3 am 21 this Wednesday (by the time over Brasilia), the Dart has a date marked with u Dimorphous between operating system days 30 on September electronic 1 on October on 2022. The spacecraft’s impact should, if all goes well, alter its orbital velocity. It does not give any large mass, just over half a ton, but in a collision at 6 km/t or 21.600 km/they would.

Dimorph has much more mass than the ship, so that while she is entirely vaporized by the encounter (making some crater in it), it must undergo only some subtle change in course. I learned the asteroid was wandering in orbit perform Sol alone, the change was perhaps too subtle to be identified quickly. However, the advantage of choosing a double star comes in. As Dimorpho completes some round around Ddimo in about 11 hours , any change in trajectory is some detectable change in orbital period significantly, which operating system astronomers will be able to measure using telescopes in solitary. (The choice of the information perform impact has to do with that it will happen when the Earth is close to its minimum distance from Didymus, about 11 million km, making observations easier. The last time there was such a close proximity was in 900, electronic the next one, there is 2062.)

When impacting a Dimorphous asteroid, it must reduce its orbit in the perform Ddimo lathe. (Credit: APL/JHU)

Operating system asteroids will also be studied by the probe itself, during its approach, electronic it is possible that a small Italian satellite (which travels with her) makes a record perform impact on itself. The LICIACube of class 2 cubesats (it is the size of a shoebox, 30a21times10cm) electronic equipped with two cameras to produce images perform encounter.

And the, sony ericsson everything go well, is the Earth safe? Can we ever forget about the threat 2 asteroids, as long as NASA is ready to defend the planet? As you may have suspected, not quite.

The demonstration is very important, however this strategy will be useful to learn we have enough warning about any future early collision, explains Cristvo Jacques, astronomer perform Observatrio SONEAR, at Oliveira (MG), Brazilian electronic primary discoverer of nearby Earth asteroids. We know that an asteroid over up to a few 324 meters is on a collision course with us in a few 10, 20 years, it would give time about preparing some mission like this, implementing electronic find the object in time about changing its orbit so that, as time passes, it doesn’t hit the planet. But if the warning was 2 or 3 years, this method would not work.

It is even important to perform work 2 astronomers in continuing to identify all operating system members of this vast population about potentially Earth-threatening objects. The sooner we discover an asteroid that has our name taped to it, the greater the possibility that we will be able to react to avoid the impact. in the mass (like one that hit operating system dinosaurs, which had something like a few km), even with a long pace on warning this strategy about simply crashing some ship into it would probably be unable to redirect it. Fortunately, this population is at risk for almost every electronic discovery and we know it poses no danger for the next century, adds Jacques. Launched by a Falcon 9 rocket from a SpaceX on its first interplanetary NASA service. The flight departs from the Bottom of the Vandenberg Space Force in California, electronic the weather at time d 140% probability of good condition. If there is any violation of 2 mission criteria, some new attempt can be made that day 21.

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