NASA takes the first image of the asteroid that it will divert with the DART spacecraft to avoid the end of the world
The first rehearsal in the history of the kinetic impact technique will take place on September 26 and the POT You already know how it looks against whom you are measuring yourself: Didymosthe double asteroid system that includes its target Dimorphosa small moon.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft will be the one to collide and deflect the asteroid, from which have generated an image based on 243 photos taken by the Didymos Asteroid and Reconnaissance Camera for Optical Navigation (DRACO) on July 27 this year.
Elena Adams, a DART mission systems engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, spoke about the photographs in a statement posted on NASA’s website: “This first set of images is being used as a test to test our imaging techniques.”.
“The image quality is similar to what we could get from ground-based telescopes, but it is important to show that DRACO is working properly and can see its target to make any necessary adjustments before we start using the images to guide the spacecraft. on the asteroid autonomously”, he added, in statements quoted and translated by La Tercera.
The image corresponds to light from the asteroid Didymos and its orbiting moon Dimorphos, which is about 20 million miles from DART. Dimorphos is an asteroid that has an approximate diameter of 160 meters or 530 feetwhile Didymos it has a diameter of 780 meters or 2560 feet
Is the Earth in danger?
Although the asteroid poses no threat to Earth, this is the first test of the kinetic impact technique, using a spacecraft to deflect an asteroid. It is a defense mechanism that can be used in the future against greater threats.
The taking of images is necessary for the mission since they allow to see them, process them and guide the spacecraft towards the asteroid, especially in the last four hours before impact. In that stretch of time, the DART will have to navigate alone to successfully impact the asteroid.
With observations taken every five hours, the DART mission will execute three trajectory correction maneuvers over the next three weeks, each one further reducing the margin of error. About 24 hours before impact, the team will know the position of the target within a radius of two kilometers.