Question: What is DART mission? Explain its importance in studying and tracking near-Earth asteroids.
Answer: The DART mission consists of crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid and changing its course away from the direction of Earth.
The mission will be targeting a small moonlet known as Dimorphos. This moonlet revolves around another asteroid known as Didymos.
The DART mission: objectives
- Suicidal impact
The spacecraft will crash into the asteroid with high speed to create a large explosion enough to push the asteroid out of its path.
- Track the trajectory
The satellite employed along with the spacecraft will make keen observations about the path and trajectory of the asteroid to see if there were any changes after impact.
- Observation of crater
The crater formed on the surface of asteroid will be observed to understand the force of impact that can change the course of an asteroid.
Significance of study
- Preventing asteroid impact
The study will be focusing on future situation in which an Earth threatening asteroid will be encountered. The knowledge from DART mission will be used to change path of such asteroids.
- Tracking asteroid
The study will also make observations on speed, trajectory and characteristics of asteroids for classifying the threat level for Earth.
Thus, DART mission has long term applications in terms of space protection. The results from this mission can help in saving earth in future.