Question: What is DART mission? Explain the goals and objectives of the mission.
Answer: Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is a planned space probe that will demonstrate the kinetic effects of crashing an impactor spacecraft into an asteroid moon for planetary defence purposes. Asteroid Didymos will be under probe during the mission.
Components of DART mission
DART is one of the components of Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA) that aims to conduct a controlled impact to change the trajectory and path of the asteroid. DART will be contribution of NASA.
Hera probe will be developed by ESA, which is part of AIDA mission towards studying impact on asteroids. The Hera probe will study the crater made by the impact of DART. Italian made CubeSat satellite will be used to analyse impact.
Goals and objectives of the mission
- Study of near Earth asteroids
Asteroids are unpredictable space objects that are sparsely studied. The mission will help in understanding the nature and reaction of asteroid. There is also a feasible study on components of the asteroid, including biologicalsigns of life.
- Feasibility of manual deflection of asteroids
Asteroids that pose a threat to Earth can be pushed away in future if the goals of the mission is fulfilled. This is significant because asteroids can threaten Earth’s existence. Till now no such experiments are undertaken and this mission will prove to be a watershed moment.
- Prevent asteroid related effects on Earth
Asteroids are not only threatening to Earth but they can impact communication infrastructure of the Earth. Satellites and other space assets can be protected if asteroids are prevented from entering or passing by Earth’s trajectory.