This Monday NASA will make another piece of history. If all goes well, the DART mission will score a direct impact on the tiny piece of space-rock known as Dimorphos.
It’s the first time that a real experiment has been done to establish whether it’s possible to divert an asteroid, if it were heading for a damaging impact on Earth. People have been theorising about this for years – and we all saw Bruce Willis personally delivering explosives to the surface of an Earth-threatening object in the 1998 (fictitious) film Armageddon. But nobody has ever tested this theory until now.
I’ll be attempting to watch the impact sequence this coming Monday – the transmission starting at 3pm Los Angeles time. Though in my case there will be complications because this is exactly when we will be sound checking for the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in Los Angeles. That’s a small problem I’ll have to solve !
But – guys – this is potential opportunity for getting the first EVER 3-D pictures of this Binary Near-Earth Asteroid.
So this is me speaking to all my brilliant stereoscopic accomplices out there – look for the baselines ! Maybe you will be the one to secure the definitive Didymos Stereo !!! The stereo pic we see here was made by my Astro-Stereo partner Claudia Manzoni – it’s a SIMULATION of what we might see. But until 20 seconds before impact nobody knows what the Asteroid really looks like.
DART Impact trailer animation – in 2 days
Animation credit : NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben
DIDYMOS and DIMORPHOS might look like this.
It’s a ‘binary’ or two-body system – a double asteroid – two rocks rotating around a common centre of gravity. The larger object is about half a mile across, and the smaller – Dimorphos – only about 500 feet. So effectively Dimorphos looks like a moon going around Didymos. It’s Dimorphos which is the target of the impact mission.
The DART projectile has a camera on board facing in the direction of travel, and since it’s going at over 14,000 miles per hour, we will catch only a 20 second glimpse of Dimorphos before the collision happens.
A bit rash, you say ? To fire a missile at an object we’ve never even seen ?
Yes – and actually the project wasn’t initially planned that way – HERA was actually supposed to get there first and have a look around before the fireworks happened – but that’s another story. This is a pretty momentous event !!! Enjoy !
Log on to the DART website or NASA TV to share this amazing experience.
DART’s Impact with Asteroid Dimorphos (Official NASA Broadcast)
Scheduled for Sep 26, 2022 – https://youtu.be/4RA8Tfa6Sck
@nasatv @nasa #dart #Didymos #dimorphos #planetarydefence @lonely_whispers