The Hayabusa-2 spacecraft from Japan found its way in history in April last year, after firing a bomb towards Asteroid Ryugu in their attempt to collect samples from it. But NASA is preparing another huge thing. They are planning the DART mission, in which a space probe will be placed on a mission to get right into an asteroid and to test the last line of defense.
NASA’s DART Mission To Test The Asteroid-Diverting Method
We have all heard that asteroids of all sizes have been coming around Earth for billions of years. NASA has estimated that more than 100 tons of dust and particles are hitting Earth every day.
But once every million years is an object that’s so large that it threatens the Earth. DART can help us learn more about the Hayabusa-2 mission.
Patrick Michel director of research at France’s Côte d’Azur Observatory stated that: “For us, this is an exciting first data point to compare with simulations, but we have a much larger impact to look forward to in future, as part of the forthcoming double-spacecraft Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission.”
About NASA’s DART Spacecraft
The Hayabusa-2’s SCI test should form a crater and expose the surface material in a lower gravity environment. However, its purpose is to divert the orbit of the 160m diameter ‘Didymoon’ asteroid in a significant way.
The DART spacecraft will weight about 550kg, and it will strike the asteroid at 21,565 km/h. it should create enough impact energy in order to deflect the asteroid, due to the spacecraft being 200 times larger than the asteroid.
An ESA mission, called Hera, will then follow up with a visit to the asteroid in order to study it, measure its mass, and perform mapping of the crater.