The DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission is already scheduled for yours first test flight to evaluate technology aimed at defending the planet against the dangerous asteroid impacts of space. Its launch is scheduled for 06:24 UTC (03:24 in Chile) on November 24 and will be taken into space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which will leave the Vandenberg Base special of the Force in Santa Barbara, California.
This will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impact technique, which aims to divert the trajectory of asteroids., impacting them with one or more large spacecraft, thus avoiding a possible catastrophic collision on our planet.
The target of this first mission will be the asteroid Didymos and its moon – which currently pose no danger to the planet – and which are relatively close to Earth. After the separation of the launch rocket, it will be almost a year until DART reaches the Didymos system, where it will impact its moon, Dimorphos, in late September 2022.. On this date, the system will be at a distance of 11 million kilometers from Earth and it will be possible to control the impact from the surface of our planet, quantifying the change in speed of the lunar orbit of the Didymos system, using radar and telescopes.
Like in a movie
Some must remember a dinner in the movie Armagenddon (released in 1998), in which NASA sent a group of oil rig drillers to plant bombs on an asteroid heading in a collision course with our planet to avoid disaster, destroying space with a nuclear bomb.
Although this time there will be no atomic explosion or megatsunami due to the impact of a fragment falling on Earth, the moment is always one of the waits, given the importance of these technologies, for the protection of the planet and all the life that is based on it.
DART is a low-cost structure consisting of a main cube of 1.2 x 1.3 x 1.3 meters, to which have been added a number of elements, including two extra large solar modules (PINK; Roll- Out Solar Array) 8.5 m long – when fully deployed -, and that powers aircraft systems. It also has a camera (DRACO; Didymos Reconnaissance & Asteroid Camera for OpNav) that will help you navigate and recognize the lens, which will impact at a speed of 6.6 km / s.
The DART will be supported in its mission by the LICIACube, a satellite of the Italian Space Agency (ASI, for its acronym in Italian), which collect information about the moment of impact, as well as images of the possible impact crater that originated.