Ultimate Steve

DART: Double Asteroid Redirection Test

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https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense/dart

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Mission, or DART, is now going to happen! Hopefully! I think that's what the announcement was for, anyway, maybe it's been planned far earlier and this is the first I've heard of it, but there are all of a sudden dozens of articles, so I'll start the thread.

Scheduled to launch in 2020 or 2021 as a secondary payload on a military or communications satellite launching to geosynchronous orbit, DART will be a small space probe weighing about 500kg, which will have an ion engine and roll out solar arrays. In October 2022, it will approach the Didymos system, a binary system of asteroids with one 800m in diameter and the other 150m. Then it will crash into the smaller one at about 6 kilometers per second to test how much the collision will alter its orbit, which will be observed with ground based telescopes. It is hoped that this will evaluate the impact method of asteroid redirection in case an asteroid is found on a collision course with Earth.

It's about time we tested something like this, even though it will barely change the velocity of the asteroid!

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Fun test. A small impact against an asteroid far enough in advance could be enough to prevent an Earth impact

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Plot twist; we end up nudging it on a collision course to Earth.

 

Yeah, I know that's not going to happen, but it sounds like the premise of a syfy movie :D

 

Anyway, this is really cool! I hope it's successful.

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On 1/5/2019 at 7:31 PM, Ultimate Steve said:

It's about time we tested something like this

Well, it's not the first time we've done it.  Not that we've done it a whole lot -- we're still a long way away from assessing kinetic deflection in general, and I'm in favor of this test.  But it's not our first time.

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=3910

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1 hour ago, Nikolai said:

Well, it's not the first time we've done it.  Not that we've done it a whole lot -- we're still a long way away from assessing kinetic deflection in general, and I'm in favor of this test.  But it's not our first time.

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=3910

That was more scientific observation based, rather than redirection based, whereas this is focused almost fully on redirection, although you have a point.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Nikolai said:

it's not our first time.

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=3910

This one is more massive. It's like comparing shooting a car vs. colliding a car with a small bus.

Though I do wonder whether this mission will still count as "peaceful".

Edited by YNM

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21 hours ago, Ultimate Steve said:

That was more scientific observation based, rather than redirection based, whereas this is focused almost fully on redirection, although you have a point.

Of course; especially when scientific studies are rare, difficult, and costly, they don't often focus on just one result.  I didn't mean to imply that Deep Impact's studies were done primarily to study the diversion created by the impact itself.  And I'm still in favor of this test.

6 hours ago, YNM said:

This one is more massive. It's like comparing shooting a car vs. colliding a car with a small bus.

My statement was about existence, not variety.  But if we're going to get into the nitty-gritty of comparison...

Deep Impact's impactor and DART are of the same order of magnitude (372 kg vs. ~500 kg).  Deep Impact's impactor hit with a lot more velocity (10.2 km/s vs. ~6 km/s), and thus imparted more momentum to its target (though that, too, is of the same order of magnitude).  Depending on which estimates you go with, though, Tempel-1 is somewhere around 10,000 to 100,000 times as massive as "Didymoon", and 100 billion to 1 trillion times as much as the impactor (whereas "Didymoon" masses "only" somewhere around 10 million times as much as the impactor).  A more apt comparison would be, perhaps, chucking a tennis ball at an An-255 during takeoff versus chucking that ball at the Great Pyramid of Giza.

But these are trifles.  I'm eager to see the results.

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