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NASA to Launch the DART Mission

A NASA mission was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California after nine engines on a SpaceX Falcon 9 roared to life. DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) is a spacecraft that will travel millions of kilometres from Earth and collide with a tiny rock. The rocket that launched DART into space returned to Earth in less than nine minutes, landing on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

NASA will now wait for the “acquisition of signal,” which will let scientists on the ground know that DART is in good health and ready to go on its lengthy trek to the rock.The breathtaking night launch marks the beginning of a new era in planetary defence. The goal of NASA DART mission is to demonstrate that it can nudge an asteroid off course, in this case the moonlet Dimorphous.

This asteroid is orbiting Didymos, a massive asteroid. Neither of them is a hazard to the environment. If our telescopes discover a fatal asteroid travelling right for us, though, we may have no choice but to engage in a deliberate collision. As a result, DART serves as a kind of test run for a potentially life-saving manoeuvre. Over the next year, as the probe approaches the asteroid pair, it will progressively gain speed and power up its ion thrusters.

In September 2022, at a speed of around 15,000 miles per hour, a violent collision will occur. The collision will be powerful enough, according to NASA, to shift Dimorphos’ orbital period by a few minutes. The collision will bring Dimorphos closer to Didymos, according to calculations, and Earth-based telescopes will be able to detect the incremental change. DART’s success, on the other hand, won’t be known until the second half of 2020.

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