Live reporting of the scene of the spacecraft actively colliding with the asteroid

Live report of the scene of the spacecraft actively colliding with the asteroid - Photo 1.

The image shows the moment before DART “hit” the asteroid – Photo: NASA

According to the news site Ars Technica, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) program will target an asteroid called Dimorphos. This asteroid orbits a larger asteroid called Didymos, forming a binary system.

If everything goes according to plan, the DART spacecraft will steer itself toward a head-on collision with the small asteroid Dimorphos. This operation is intended to slow down and change the orbit so that Dimorphos does not collide with a larger planet, such as Earth.

This collision is expected to slow the orbit of asteroid Dimorphos by about 1%.

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said The impact was only intended to deflect the asteroid, not blow it up into pieces, and pose no threat to Earth.

On September 26, from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), NASA will live stream this collision on their YouTube channels.

We’ll know right away whether the collision went as planned. However, it may take several months before it is known for certain that the orbit of asteroid Dimorphos has been successfully modified.

This test is part of NASA’s Earth defense program.

How does the DART spacecraft work?

The DART spacecraft weighs more than 600kg. All ship activity is handled through a single camera for Didymos asteroid reconnaissance and optical navigation: mDRACO camera, single color 2,560×2,160 pixels.

DRACO and the transmission hardware are capable of sending images back to Earth every second. During the final approach to Didymos, the DART will be quite far away so image transmission will take more than 1 minute.

As described by Evan Smith, DART’s deputy engineer, the system will switch to on-board navigation about 4 hours before impact.

When there are only 2 minutes and 5 seconds left for the impact, the ion engine will turn off and DART will “smash” the asteroid Dimorphos at a speed of about 6 km / s.

Asteroid Dimorphos is only about 120m wide, it will completely obscure the view from the DRACO camera about 2 minutes before impact.

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