NASA DART Mission Launch
November 30, 2021
November 23, 2021 - A SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying NASA’s first planetary defense test mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), launches from Space Launch Complex-4 at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California with Guardians viewing it miles away.
DART is the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test, demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection technology. The DART spacecraft, traveling at roughly 15,000 miles per hour, is designed to direct itself to impact asteroid moonlet Dimorphos (Greek for “two forms”), which orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos (Greek for “twin”) in the fall of 2022. This collision is projected to to change Dimorphos' orbit within the Didymos binary asteroid system.
The Didymos system is the ideal candidate for DART, because it poses no actual impact threat to Earth, and scientists can measure the change in Dimorphos’ orbit with ground-based telescopes.
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