SpaceX will launch NASA & # 39; s $ 69 million mission to crash a spacecraft into an ASTEROID in 2021

SpaceX will launch NASA & # 39; s $ 69 million mission to crash a spacecraft into an ASTEROID in 2021 to test methods that can save the earth from deadly consequences

  • NASA says it has selected SpaceX to provide launch services for the 2021 mission
  • DART will launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Station on top
  • The vessel reached its target, binary Didymos, in October 2022 before it crashes
  • It is hoped that the mission will demonstrate the ability to deflect objects near the Earth

NASA & # 39; s radical mission to shoot a small spaceship directly into an asteroid now also has SpaceX on its selection.

The aerospace agency announced this week that it has selected Elon Musk's aerospace company to launch its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which is expected to depart in June 2021.

The groundbreaking mission will be the first demonstrated attempt to deflect an asteroid by deliberately crashing an object at high speed.

Following the launch of the Vandenberg Air Force base in California on top of a Falcon 9 rocket in 2021, the DART vessel is expected to reach the Didymos object in October 2022 when it is 11 million kilometers (6.8 million miles) from the earth is removed.

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The DART mission relies on what is known as a & # 39; kinetic collision body & # 39; - in this case a 2.4 meter long spacecraft with an electric solar propulsion. DART focuses on the binary near-earth asteroid Didymos, which measures around 800 meters wide. Artist & # 39; s impression shown

The DART mission relies on what is known as a & # 39; kinetic collision body & # 39; – in this case a 2.4 meter long spacecraft with an electric solar propulsion. DART focuses on the binary near-earth asteroid Didymos, which measures around 800 meters wide. Artist & # 39; s impression shown

NASA revealed on Friday that SpaceX had been selected to provide launch services for the upcoming DART mission.

The announcement marks yet another achievement for the Musk company in just a few days; on Thursday, SpaceX successfully launched Falcon Heavy for the second time ever, recording the first commercial mission of the massive rocket.

Now SpaceX also plays a role in the defense of the planet.

The DART mission relies on what is known as a & # 39; kinetic collision body & # 39; – in this case a 2.4 meter long spacecraft with an electric solar propulsion.

DART focuses on the binary near-earth asteroid Didymos, which measures around 800 meters wide.

Following the launch of the Vandenberg Air Force base in California on top of a Falcon 9 rocket in 2021, the DART vessel is expected to reach the Didymos object in October 2022 when it is 11 million kilometers (6.8 million miles) from the earth is removed. File photo of a Falcon 9 after the launch

Following the launch of the Vandenberg Air Force base in California on top of a Falcon 9 rocket in 2021, the DART vessel is expected to reach the Didymos object in October 2022 when it is 11 million kilometers (6.8 million miles) from the earth is removed. File photo of a Falcon 9 after the launch

Following the launch of the Vandenberg Air Force base in California on top of a Falcon 9 rocket in 2021, the DART vessel is expected to reach the Didymos object in October 2022 when it is 11 million kilometers (6.8 million miles) from the earth is removed. File photo of a Falcon 9 after the launch

The second object in the pair is what is known as a moon and is only 150 meters long. According to NASA, this is & # 39; more typical of the size of asteroids that can pose a more general threat to the earth. & # 39;

& # 39; The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact by deliberately popping into the moon at a speed of about 6 km / sec, using a built-in camera and advanced autonomous navigation software & # 39 ;, says NASA.

& # 39; The collision changes the speed of the moon in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of a percent, enough to measure with telescopes on Earth. & # 39;

So far, the estimated costs are around $ 69 million, including the launch service.

WHAT COULD DO TO STOP AN ASTEROID FALLING INTO THE EARTH?

At present, NASA would not be able to deflect an asteroid if it was on its way to Earth, but it could mitigate the impact and take measures that would protect lives and property.

This includes evacuating the impact area and moving important infrastructure.

Finding information about the job path, size, shape, mass, composition and rotation dynamics would help experts determine the severity of a potential impact.

However, the key to mitigating damage is finding a potential threat as quickly as possible.

NASA is currently making a spacecraft with the dimensions of a refrigerator that is capable of preventing asteroids from colliding with the earth. A test with a small, non-threatening asteroid is planned for 2024.

This is the very first mission to demonstrate an asteroid deflection technique for planetary defenses.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) would use what is known as a kinetic impactor technique – hitting the asteroid to change its orbit.

The impact would change the speed of a threatening asteroid with a small part of the total speed, but by doing this well before the predicted impact, this little push will increase over time to a major shift in asteroid from the earth.

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