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NASA sends DART spacecraft to test to prevent asteroid hitting Earth

NASA has sent the DART spacecraft into space. To carry out a test mission to prevent asteroids hitting Earth. to assess the trajectory of asteroids that have changed after they were hit by the spacecraft. These changes were measured by ground-based telescopes.

National Astronomical Research Institute Revealed that the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft, NASA’s first mission to test technology to prevent asteroids hitting Earth. Was launched into space on November 24, 2021 at 1:21 p.m. Thailand time. with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from the launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, USA.

The DART spacecraft is part of the Strategic Plan for Defending Planets from Crash. The DART spacecraft is built and managed by Johns Hopkins University’s Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL). The goal is to hit the asteroid Dimorphos, which has no risk of hitting Earth. to assess the trajectory of asteroids that have changed after they were hit by the spacecraft. These changes were measured by ground-based telescopes.

The DART spacecraft is also a demonstration of autonomous navigation technology to lock down a target asteroid before it hits as planned. The method of deflecting the trajectory of an asteroid by launching a spacecraft is known as a “kinetic impact,” which in this mission provides important information that will help prepare for how to deal with objects at risk of hitting Earth. in the future

The LICIACube, a small spacecraft of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), is also equipped with will be released from the DART vehicle before the crash to capture the moment of the crash and the subsequent splashing of debris. Approximately four years later, the European Space Agency’s Hera will take a closer look at the original asteroid Dimorphos. In particular, the hole formed by the DART collision and the precise measurement of the asteroid Dimorphos’ mass.

Following the launch of the Falcon rocket at 1:21 p.m., the DART separated from the second part of the rocket at 2:17 p.m. and minutes later. The ground mission control receives signal data from the DART spacecraft and allows the spacecraft to unfold its solar panels. (which took 2 hours to unfold the panels) to power the ship and the xenon ion propulsion engine. The engine is one of the new technologies that NASA is experimenting with on the DART spacecraft before it can be applied to other spacecraft.

DART’s one-way flight is aimed at the Didimos-Dimorphos asteroid system. The asteroid Dimorphos targeted for the collision was a satellite with a diameter of 160 meters, and its parent asteroid Didimos, with a diameter of 780 meters.

Since the orbital speed of asteroid Dimorphos around asteroid Didimos is much slower than Didimos orbital speed, therefore, Dimorphos is moving slowly. around Didimos, if a spaceship crashes It’s probably more effective than hitting a single asteroid orbiting the Sun.

Evaluate the trajectory of the asteroid’s movement.

The forecast period for DART to hit the asteroid Dimorphos will be between September 26 and October 1, 2022, and the spacecraft will hit the asteroid at a speed of about 6 kilometers per. second Scientists estimate the impact would shorten the orbital period of asteroid Dimorphos by a few minutes. The researchers will use ground-based telescopes to measure the changing orbital period. The results will be used to validate and develop a theoretical model. To assess the effectiveness of the asteroid’s deflecting trajectory by further launching the spacecraft.

The only scientific device mounted onboard the DART is the DRACO camera, which serves as a camera for the crash navigation system. It will be activated a week after launching the spacecraft. and will take the first picture of the ship and send it back It will then spend about 10 months in space before it crashes into asteroid Dimorphos. The asteroid system was about 11 million kilometers from Earth (nearly 29 times the distance from Earth to the Moon) when the spacecraft crashed.

The collaboration between the control and navigation system and DART’s SMART Nav command set to automate its on-the-fly navigation will allow DART to differentiate between asteroid Dimorphos and planets. Little Didimos to guide the craft to hit the target correctly The navigation system, together with this instruction set, will be activated approximately 1 hour before the crash.

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