NASA’s first mission to demonstrate a planetary defence technique, The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), will get one opportunity to hit small moonlet in the binary asteroid system Didymos. The asteroid poses no threat to Earth and is an ideal test target. NASA revealed that details about its plan to hit a small moonlet target in a double asteroid system with a spacecraft in 2022.
- The asteroid, called Didymoon or Didymos B, is a moon asteroid around 150 meters tall orbiting a larger body Didymos A, the most accessible asteroid of its size from the Earth.
- Current observations will help researchers to better understand the extent of the impact made when DART slams into its target – Didymos B – in September 2022.
Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)
- Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is a planned space probe that will demonstrate the kinetic effects of crashing an impact spacecraft into an asteroid moon for planetary defence purposes. The mission is intended to test whether a spacecraft impact could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.
- The mission’s target is 65803 Didymos, a binary asteroid system in which one asteroid is orbited by a smaller one.
- The primary asteroid is about 800 m (2,600 ft) in diameter; its small satellite is about 150 m (490 ft) in diameter in an orbit about 1.1 km from the primary.