Don’t look up: target in sight for DART, the asteroid “impactor”

DART (Double Asteroid Redirect Test), 610 kilos on the scale, is heading at a speed of 6.6 km/second towards Dimorphos, the very small Moon of the asteroid Didymos. The small NASA probe, which took off in mid-November 2021, should crash into Dimorphos on September 25… which is exactly the goal that the American space agency had set itself. DART’s mission is to assess the relevance of one of the main methods that can allow us to survive a “world killer” heading straight for Earth: the idea is therefore to strongly project a probe / rocket on the asteroid, with the hope that the violence of the impact will be enough to significantly deviate its disastrous trajectory.

DaRt asteroid target photo

Dimorphos is in the small circle on the left

Humanity will soon be fixed as DART finally has its target “in sight”: DRACO, the optical navigation camera installed on DART, has captured the images of the two target asteroids (image above). The DART probe is still far from Dimorphos (20 million kilometers), and yet the big shock is expected in about 2 weeks. Let our readers be reassured, however: the probability of a killer asteroid colliding with the Earth remains extremely low, but after all, the dinosaurs did indeed disappear from our planet following such an impact. Better to prevent than to die…

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