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Friday, November 26, 2021

A NASA spacecraft is colliding with an asteroid. Here's how you can tune in to the launch.

 In the wake of dispatching to space, the shuttle will make almost one full circle around the sun before it runs into Dimorphos, a football-field-sized space rock

NASA is going to dispatch a shuttle with one straightforward mission: Smash into a space rock at 15,000 mph. 

The mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, leaves Earth early Wednesday to test whether pummeling a shuttle into a space rock can poke it into an alternate direction. Results from the test, if fruitful, will prove to be useful assuming NASA and other space organizations at any point need to redirect a space rock to save Earth and deflect a disastrous effect. 

When is the dispatch and how might I watch it? 

The DART shuttle is planned to take off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday at 1:20 am Eastern time from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. 

NASA intends to have a livestream of the dispatch on its YouTube channel beginning at 12:30 am Wednesday. 

Assuming terrible climate around the Vandenberg dispatch site prompts a postponement, the following chance for takeoff would be around 24 hours after the fact. 

For what reason is NASA colliding with a space rock? 

NASA is smashing DART into a space rock to test, interestingly, a strategy for planetary guard that could one day save a city, or perhaps the entire planet, from a calamitous space rock sway. 

DART "is something of a replay of Bruce Willis' film, 'Armageddon,' albeit that was absolutely anecdotal," Bill Nelson, NASA's executive, said in a meeting. 

Assuming all goes as arranged with DART, NASA will have an affirmed weapon in its planetary protection armory. Should an alternate space rock at any point end up on a crash course with Earth, the world's space organizations would have certainty that a space rock rocket like DART would shoo the space rock away. 

How might the mission function? 

In the wake of dispatching to space, the shuttle will make almost one full circle around the sun before it encounters Dimorphos, a football-field-sized space rock that intently circles a greater space rock, called Didymos, like clockwork and 55 minutes. Cosmologists consider those two space rocks a double framework, where one is a little moon to the next. Together, the two space rocks make one full circle around the sun at regular intervals. 

Represents no danger to Earth, and the mission is basically target practice. DART's effect will occur in late September or early October one year from now, when the twofold space rocks are at their nearest highlight Earth, generally 6.8 million miles away. 

Four hours before sway, the DART shuttle, officially called a motor impactor, will independently guide itself directly toward Dimorphos for a head-on crash at 15,000 mph. An installed camera will catch and send back photographs to Earth continuously until 20 seconds before sway. A minuscule satellite from the Italian Space Agency, conveyed 10 days before the effect, will come as close as 34 miles from the space rock to snap pictures at regular intervals at the times prior and then afterward DART's effect. 

How might NASA know whether DART succeeded? 

Telescopes on Earth will fix their focal points on the accident site, showing the two space rocks as small specks of reflected daylight. To quantify whether DART's effect changed Dimorphos' circle around Didymos, space experts will follow the time between one flash of light — which shows that Dimorphos has passed before Didymos — and another, which demonstrates that Dimorphos has circled behind Didymos. 

In the event that Dimorphos' circle around Didymos is stretched out by something like 73 seconds, DART will have effectively played out its main goal. In any case, mission supervisors anticipate that the impact should stretch the space rock's circle much more, by around 10 and 20 minutes. 

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