DART, the first mission to deflect an asteroid, has been launched!
Today is an important day in the asteroid world!
NASA’s DART mission has been launched to test an asteroid deflection technique, targeting the Didymos binary asteroid system.
Today, the European Space Agency is involved too, as the first signals coming from the space craft will be captured by the ESA’s NNO-2 antenna, measuring 4.5 metres across and located in New Norcia, Western Australia.
DART will collide with Dimorphos, the smaller body of the binary system, in October 2022. During the entire mission, ESA ground stations in Western Australia and Argentina will ensure a connection with DART.
Should an asteroid ever be targeting Earth, similar techniques could be replicate to deflect its orbit.
This is in an example of how cooperation among top-level research institutions from all over the world helps achieve outstanding objective for planetary defense. NEOROCKS is in line with this approach, thanks to its focus on fostering international coordination concerning observational activities, modelling and simulation tasks.
Stay tuned to know more, as some NEOROCKS partners are and will be involved, for different purposes, in the mission!
Infographic by ESA: https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2021/11/ESA_antenna_to_catch_DART_s_first_words