NASA will launch a spacecraft to collide with an asteroid and thus deviate its orbit. Is about Dart the first planetary defense mission in history, planned to take off on the night of this Tuesday, November 23 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The US space agency clarifies that, although the asteroid to be hit is classified as “close to Earth”, it is not considered dangerous. For this reason, the objective of the mission is to demonstrate whether this method is effective in deflecting the trajectory of an eventual asteroid that is heading towards the planet.
The launch will take place from the Vandenberg Base of the US Space Force, located in California, this November 23 at 10.21 pm (local time). Below are the schedules for Latin American countries.
The NASA channel will broadcast the launch live via YouTube.
The asteroid that this time will be used as a ‘guinea pig’ is Dimorphos 160 meters in diameter, orbiting like a moon around another larger asteroid called Didymos.
Now, this binary system is located 480 million kilometers from Earth, but its orbit will bring it closer to only 11 million kilometers in September 2022. Precisely on those dates DART will meet it for the collision.
The impact is expected to alter Dimorphos’ orbit around the larger body. A camera (LICIACube), which will be detached from DART days before impact, will record the entire event.
Likewise, telescopes on Earth will verify whether the mission was successful.