Lately, NASA launched the first of its kind ‘Dart mission’ to save the Earth. A spacecraft will go into space and collide with a meteorite. After the collision, it can be ascertained how much the speed and direction of a meteorite can be changed so that it does not hit the earth. Against this backdrop, let’s discuss this mission in detail.
What is NASA’s DART Mission?
NASA has named this mission as Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART. In the mission, NASA will try to find out how a meteorite coming towards Earth from space can be stopped from hitting the Earth.
Under the mission, NASA has built a spacecraft. This spacecraft will collide with a meteorite named Didymos. After this, the change in speed and direction of Didymos due to the collision will be observed. The cost of the mission is around Rs 2,000 crore.
The spacecraft will hit a meteorite called Didymos. Didymos is a two-part meteorite, first detected in 1996. The major part of this meteorite is spread in about 780 meters, which is named Didymos. At the same time, the small part is spread in about 160 meters.
Didymos will never hit the Earth it so it poses no threat to us. The reason for choosing Didymos for the mission is that in 2003 it passed close to the Earth. In 2022, it will pass again near the earth.
The main part of the mission is an impactor. This impactor will hit the small part of the meteorite at a speed of about 23,760 km per hour. Due to the collision, the speed of this part of the meteorite will decrease by about 1%. This will cause a change in its orbit.
Another Part of the mission is a secondary spacecraft named LICIACube built by the Italian Space Agency. This secondary spacecraft will separate from the main spacecraft 2 days before the collision. The role of this spacecraft will be to send photos and other information to Earth during the collision, so that updates about the mission will be available.
Significance of this Mission:
Meteorites keep moving here and there for years in space. If there is even a slight change in speed and direction, then this change will become bigger with time. Experts say that due to small changes in speed and direction, either the meteorite will not hit the earth or even if it will collide, we can get some time to prepare, which will reduce the damage. For better understanding of its significance, you must know that if a meteorite sizes merely 100 meters hits the earth, then it can devastate an entire continent.