Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is a NASA space mission aimed at testing a method of planetary defense against near-Earth objects (NEO). It will deliberately crash a space probe into the double asteroid Didymos to test whether the kinetic energy of a spacecraft impact could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. DART is a joint project between NASA and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), administered by NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, with several NASA laboratories and offices providing technical support. International partners, such as the space agencies of Europe, Italy, and Japan, are contributing to related or subsequent projects. DART was launched on 24 November 2021, at 06:21:02 UTC, with collision slated for 26 September 2022.
DART is an impactor, mass of 610 kg (1,340 lb), that hosts no scientific payload other than a Sun sensor, a star tracker, and a 20 cm (7.9 in) aperture camera (Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation – DRACO) based on Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) onboard New Horizons spacecraft to support autonomous navigation to impact the small asteroid’s moon at its center.
It is estimated that the impact of the 500 kg ...