This coming Monday, NASA has a very important mission. This is his first attempt to deflect an asteroid from its current orbit.. Best of all, it will be broadcast live for everyone on Earth to see. If you want to be attentive to the moment in which it happens, here we leave you the exact date so that you do not miss a second of this historical event.
For some time now, space agencies have focused on creating ground defense plans. And no, not only in case of extraterrestrial contact —although there is a procedure to follow in this situation—; rather, in case the Earth is threatened by a celestial body who wants to leave us in the same state as the ancient dinosaurs.
Fortunately, and unlike the dinosaurs, we have been able to create a plan to follow, and it has cost a not inconsiderable 240 million dollars. This will take place next Monday, with the DART ship (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) as the protagonist. At the appointed time, DART will be responsible for diverting the orbit of an asteroid called Dimorphosand which orbits a larger asteroid called 65803 Didymos, forming a binary system.
If you’re wondering if there’s a chance this could backfire on life on Earth, the answer is no. NASA has made it clear that There is no way that the asteroid or any material released at the time of the deviation directly affects our planetor its people.
How does NASA plan to deflect an asteroid with a spacecraft?
The 500-kilogram DART spacecraft was released on November 24, 2021. During this date, it was that said space vehicle was on its way to Dimorphos, the “moon” of Didymos, and which has a diameter of about 160 meters. A fraction of the 780 meters that the main body boasts.
Now, this Monday, September 26, DART will finally reach its destination. It will be here where the ship will intentionally collide with the asteroidin an attempt to deflect the small rock’s orbit around its father.
“This is an experiment at the scales that we want to use, or could use, if we ever need to deflect a real asteroid.”
Andy Rivkin, mission scientist at Johns Hopkis University
How will we know if the mission was a success?
DART will collide with a speed of 6.6 kilometers per second against the rock. Therefore, if it is able to vary the duration of the orbit of Dimorphos in about 73 seconds, the mission will be classified as successful. However, the scientists in charge believe that the variation will be closer to 10 minutes.
Although DART has a camera on board, the spaceship will be destroyed on the spot, so we will not be able to observe the consequences in real time. For this, the Italian Space Agency team has launched a sister ship, called LICIACube, and which will be in charge of taking close shots of the event.
Likewise, Telescopes on the ground and in space will also be in charge of monitoring the situation.. Hubble and James Webb, for example, will take measurements of Didymos’s orbits, and later the teams will compare them with measurements taken earlier.
But this is not all. In 2024, the European Space Agency is expected to launch another spacecraft called Herawhich will record the consequences of the impact in greater detail.
So you can see the broadcast of the event
On September 26, 2022, NASA will broadcast the event live. If you want to tune in, you just have to go to the official website that they have created for the occasion. In addition, they have also prepared broadcasts for YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
When you have chosen the place where you want to see the live, you will be able to see everything in real time at 6:14 a.m. in Mexico / 1:14 p.m. in Spain. However, the transmission itself will begin at 5:00 a.m. in Mexico, and 12:00 p.m. in Spain.