DART Spacecraft Ready for Historic Deflection Collision With Asteroid on Monday - NASA
21:32 GMT 22.09.2022 (Updated: 16:58 GMT 12.04.2023)
© AP Photo / Mark J. TerrillThe DART spacecraft, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is seen Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, from Simi Valley, Calif. after launching from Vandenberg Space Force Base.
© AP Photo / Mark J. Terrill
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft is set to crash into the asteroid Dimorphos on Monday in a historic first test to see if spacecraft can use their kinetic energy to change the orbits of celestial bodies to deflect them from crashing into the earth in the future, NASA scientists told a press conference.
"DART is demonstrating the kinetic impact technique for changing the orbit of an asteroid," NASA Planetary Defense Officer Lindsey Johnson, who leads the global effort to detect and follow near-earth objects, told reporters on Thursday.
Dimorphos, which is only about 530 feet or 160 meters in diameter, is currently 7 million miles from the earth and poses no threat to it, but scientists want to see if the impact of the spacecraft can significantly change the asteroid's orbit, the NASA scientists said.
"We are going to precision lock with Dimorphos. We are going to point the cameras and take the pictures and we don't know what the shape [of the asteroid] is," DART Mission Systems Engineer Elena Adams said.
DART will crash into Dimorphos at a speed of 14,900 miles per hour, or 24,000 kilometers per hour. The spacecraft was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.