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Spacecraft launches to deflect an asteroid – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2021-11-24 19:10:24 –

The world’s first full-scale planetary defense test is underway.Mission is called DART And what scientists learn from it can save humanity from future catastrophic events. Nancy Chabot I am a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

“DART is NASA’s mission to demonstrate moving an asteroid into space by deflecting it and deliberately colliding it with a spacecraft,” says Chabot.

She says there are no asteroids that threaten Earth in the foreseeable future, but these are the first steps when humans need to divert asteroids in the distant future.

“I don’t want to get in the way of the dinosaurs,” Chabot said.

DART, short for Double Asteroid Redirect Test, has been flying for 10 months to collide with an asteroid system orbiting the Sun. Released from California on Tuesday night.

“There is Dimorphos. It’s about 780 meters or 0.5 miles. Dimorphos is a small moon, moving around every 11 hours 55 minutes like a clockwork, and DART arrives very fast at 15,000 miles per hour. And that’s it. You’ll hit Dimorphos on the little moon, “Chabot said.

According to Chabot, a spaceship is about one-hundredth the size of a small moon, like a golf cart hitting something about the size of a sports stadium, enough to change course. Jay McMahon He is a professor at the Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department at the University of Colorado at Boulder.He is a scientist participating in the mission

“Our job is to model how that trajectory will change and evolve in the years following the DART mission,” says McMahon.

McMahon says he and his graduate students assess the effects of the crash.

“If we had to push an asteroid out of the way of the Earth, we wouldn’t want to push it in a way that would come back later? We push it and it keeps disappearing. Please check, “he said.

There is still much to learn about the movement of asteroids.

“They are smaller and have different dynamics that can be pushed away by their interaction with the planets, or they can actually be heated and moved around by their interaction with the sun,” McMahon said. increase. In time, it can push them as they drift across the Earth’s orbit. “

And if that happens, we will have innovative technologies to save the planet.

“Many people have brought up movies like Deep Impact and Armageddon, which are trying to protect the Earth from asteroids,” McMahon said. A realistic way of this mission. And it is testing all kinds of exciting new technologies. This is really cool from an engineering point of view. And from a scientific point of view, we’ve come to see binary asteroids near what we’re not doing. “



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