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NASA set to launch DART on a mission to crash into an asteroid

22 Nov 2021, 17:30 UTC
NASA set to launch DART on a mission to crash into an asteroid
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NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, is set to launch this week in order to deliberately crash into an asteroid less than a year from now. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL
NASA is set to launch a spacecraft specifically designed to crash into an asteroid to demonstrate a planetary defense technique.
The mission, called Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, will be the first test of an in-orbit deflection test of kinetic impact technology. Liftoff of the spacecraft is set to occur at 1:20 a.m. EST (06:20 UTC) Nov. 24, 2021, atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
DART is a 1,350-pound (610-kilogram) kinetic impactor spacecraft that is about 6.2 x 5.9 x 8.5 feet (1.9 x 1.8 x 2.6 meters). With its two roll-out solar arrays it stretches about 62 feet (19 meters) across. It has a Sun sensor, star tracker and a camera in order to navigate to its target, a binary asteroid system called 65803 Didymos. Specifically, the vehicle is aiming for the moon of Didymos — Dimorphos.
Didymos is about 2,560 feet (780 meters) wide while Dimorphos is about 525 feet (160 meters) wide and orbits 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) above ...

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