What is NASA's DART?
NASA launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). This project attempts to deflect asteroids off of their current course and prevent collisions with Earth. The DART spacecraft will break into two pieces once it gets close enough to the asteroid's surface. Once broken, these fragments will travel for a short distance before colliding with the asteroid. This collision should change its trajectory by about one inch per second, which could save our planet from possible disasters in future years.
NASA has been working on this project since 2002. They have already successfully tested the technology needed to accomplish this mission. In 2009, NASA launched the Deep Impact probe at Comet Tempel 1. This was successful because the comet had a small mass compared to the impactor's size. It also showed us how well the impactor would work. If we can successfully deflect an asteroid, we can use this same method to protect Earth from other potential threats.
What Exactly is DART?
The Double Asteroid Redirection test is a proposed mission to redirect an asteroid to miss Earth. NASA is planning to launch a spacecraft called DART. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory will lead the task. This mission aims to determine if there is any way to deflect an asteroid safely. There are many different types of asteroids out there. Some of them are large, and some are smaller. We want to know what happens when we hit something like this.
To find out, scientists need to send a spacecraft to an asteroid. When the spacecraft arrives at the asteroid, it will perform several experiments. One experiment will measure the strength of the object's gravity field. Another experiment will look at the shape of the asteroid. A third experiment will see if the asteroid contains water or ice. These three experiments will help us understand more about the asteroid. Scientists will also study the composition of the asteroid.
They will do this by sending a sample back to Earth. After all of these experiments are done, scientists will decide whether or not to move the asteroid away from Earth.
Why Does NASA Want to Deflect Asteroids?
If you were living on Earth during the time of the dinosaurs, then you may remember a meteorite crashing into the ocean near your home. Luckily, no humans died as a result of this event. However, it did cause damage to the land and sea around where the meteorite landed. Today, we live in a world where asteroids threaten life on Earth. An asteroid approximately 16 feet wide struck Earth 65 million years ago. This caused massive amounts of devastation. Many animals died, and plants were destroyed. This asteroid would have killed most people on Earth today. Fortunately, we found out about this asteroid in advance and were able to take steps to avoid disaster. Now, we face another asteroid that poses a similar threat. NASA wants to learn more about asteroids to better prepare ourselves against future disasters.
How Has DART Been so Far Effective?
NASA has already sent probes to two comets. Both missions were very successful. The first one was Deep Impact. This mission occurred in 2005. Profound Impact flew past Comet Tempel 1. It performed the first-ever direct measurements of the comet's nucleus. This allowed scientists to get a good idea of what kind of material it contained. Since this mission, NASA has continued to monitor Comet Tempel 1. They have even studied its activity. They have discovered that the comet has become much brighter than expected. It is now brighter than Venus!
The second probe that NASA has sent to a comet is Stardust. This mission took place in 2006. Stardust flew past Comet Wild 2. It collected samples of dust from the comet. Then, it returned those samples to Earth for analysis. Scientists used the data they got from the mission to create beautiful comet pictures. They learned that the comet had a lot of organic molecules in it. Organic molecules are important because they could be the building blocks of life.
The next step for NASA is to send a spacecraft to a larger asteroid. This mission will be called DART (Deep-space Atomic Redox Technology). This mission will test new technology that could allow astronauts to explore other planets.
What Happens After DART Launches?
When DART is launched, it will begin performing experiments once it reaches its destination. Scientists will use DART to determine how strong the asteroid's gravitational pull is. They will also look at the asteroid's shape. If the asteroid looks like a sphere, it will probably be safe to move it away from Earth. On the other hand, if the asteroid appears to be oblong shaped, it will need to be moved closer to Earth.
Once scientists know whether or not the asteroid needs to be moved, they will do their best to move it. They will use rockets to push the asteroid away from Earth. After the asteroid moves away from Earth, it will continue traveling through space. Eventually, it will come close enough to Earth to pass by us. At this point, the asteroid will be too small to do any harm.NASA's DART mission is an exciting project. We should all be excited to see what happens when the probe arrives at its destination. Hopefully, the mission will go well, and we will learn more about asteroids.