Dart spacecraft will hit the asteroid on September 26

Washington: NASA’s first asteroid defense spacecraft, which has been sent to deflect an asteroid 19 million kilometers from Earth, will hit the space rock at a speed of 24,140 kilometers per hour in September next month.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which was launched in November last year, will now collide with a small asteroid called Dimorphus after a journey of about a year. This asteroid revolves around a large asteroid called Didymos.

After six nights of observations by two of the most powerful telescopes, Didymos’ orbit has been confirmed to be in alignment with the US space agency’s Dart craft. These observations confirm orbit measurements to be made in 2021.
The observations were made in July with the Lowell Discovery Telescope in Arizona and the Magellan Telescope in Chile.

Andy Rivkin, co-leader of the Dart Investigation Team from Johns Hopkins University, said the measurements the team obtained in early 2021 helped guide Dart to the right location and time to collide with the dimorphs. were important.

“The confirmation of those measurements with new observations suggests that we don’t need to change anything and that we are moving in the right direction to pursue the goal,” he said.

Didymos and Dimorphs will pass close to Earth at a distance of 1.8 million kilometers in late September this year.

Built at a cost of 32.5 million dollars, the 548.8 kg spacecraft aims to change the speed of an asteroid by a tenth of its speed by hitting it with dimorphs.

The spacecraft will hit the asteroid on September 26.

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