The Dart mission, or Binary Asteroid Redirection Test Mission (English translation), will be launched by the US Space Agency (NASA) this Wednesday (24). The goal is to test human technological capability against an asteroid that could come its way to Earth in the future.
The space agency probe, departing at 2:21 a.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, United States, will begin a journey on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to a binary system: the target is the moon Dimorphos, orbiting the asteroid Didymos. Is. ,
According to Thiago Signorini Gonsalves, professor of astronomy at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the chosen destination is just “a matter of convenience”.
“This is an asteroid that is relatively close to Earth. As the mission aims, in particular, to test the possibility of effectively shifting the asteroid’s orbit, being able to follow the orbit behind is important.” If it was a very distant asteroid, it would be difficult to follow up”, he explains.
14 successive images of Didymos and its moon, still in 2003 – Photo: NASA
Thus, reaching Dimorphos, which is due in 2022, the mission will monitor whether it is actually possible to successfully change the asteroid’s path with technology developed for DART.
There are two distinct bodies: the largest, roughly the size of a 100-story building, and the smaller, 40-story. According to Goncalves, the shape of dimorphos is even more common for asteroids found in our solar system, but at the same time, It could wreak havoc if it were actually in Earth’s way.
“This is a good opportunity to be able to track the impact of an object that would effectively be the target of a mission if it was really necessary, if we had to deflect the asteroid,” he said.
Anyway, even if NASA experts can’t collide with the asteroid system, no danger of hitting the earth, However, with the success of the mission, a crater must be made on Dimorphos, which could generate Man artificially created meteor shower for the first time,
“The collision should produce a crater of about 10 meters in this second component of the binary system on the small asteroid, and this material will be picked up. It is possible that this will generate a new meteor shower that can be seen from Earth”, the astronomer said. Explained.