NASA is experimenting with arbitrarily changing the orbit of an asteroid with a rocket to prevent a collision between the asteroid and the Earth.
According to foreign media such as the BBC, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will launch SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, USA at 1:20 am (local time) on the 24th. The project’s name is ‘DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test)’, and it aims to change their orbit by colliding with an asteroid.
For reference, the target asteroid this time is not at risk of colliding with Earth. The international academic journal Science reported on the 18th that “the targeted asteroid is not dangerous, but it will evaluate whether a potentially dangerous space object moves away from Earth.”
The launched dart spacecraft unfolds its solar panel and heads for an asteroid for 10 months. The two asteroids, Didymos and Dimorphus, are bound by gravity. The Dart spacecraft only has a high-resolution camera to send data to Earth, and about a month before the collision, the camera detects Didymos and Dimorphus, and the spacecraft rushes towards them. For the past 10 days, he tracks down the spaceship and records the ship’s trajectory. It is automatically operated from 4 hours before the crash.
Afterwards, the Dart spacecraft collides with an asteroid at a speed of 6 km/s. NASA expects the two asteroids to move into a shorter inner orbit upon impact. The European Space Agency (ESA) is planning to launch the spacecraft Hera in 2026 and analyze the orbit around the asteroid.
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