News portal digitalcameranews.co.uk
SpaceX will launch NASA’s $69 million mission to crash a spacecraft into an ASTEROID in 2021

SpaceX will launch NASA’s $69 million mission to crash a spacecraft into an ASTEROID in 2021

NASA’s radical mission to fire a small spacecraft directly into an asteroid now has SpaceX on the roster, too.

The space agency announced this week that it’s selected Elon Musk’s aerospace company to launch its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which is slated to lift off in June 2021.

The groundbreaking mission will be the first demonstrated attempt to deflect an asteroid by purposely crashing an object into it at high speed.

After launching from California’s Vandenberg Air Force base atop a Falcon 9 rocket in 2021, the DART craft is expected to reach the object Didymos in October 2022, when it’s 11 million kilometers (6.8 million miles) from Earth.

Scroll down for video 

The DART mission relies on what’s known as a ‘kinetic impactor’ – in this case a 2.4-meter-long spacecraft with solar electric propulsion. DART will be targeting the binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos, which measures roughly 800 meters across. Artist’s impression pictured 

NASA revealed on Friday that it had selected SpaceX to provide the launch services for the upcoming DART mission.

The announcement marks yet another achievement for Musk’s firm in just a few days; on Thursday, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon Heavy for the second time ever, logging the huge rocket’s first commercial mission.

Now, SpaceX will also be playing a part in planetary defense.

The DART mission relies on what’s known as a ‘kinetic impactor’ – in this case a 2.4-meter-long spacecraft with solar electric propulsion.

DART will be targeting the binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos, which measures roughly 800 meters across.

After launching from California’s Vandenberg Air Force base atop a Falcon 9 rocket in 2021, the DART craft is expected to reach the object Didymos in October 2022, when it’s 11 million kilometers (6.8 million miles) from Earth. File photo of a Falcon 9 after launch

The second object in the pair is what’s known as a moonlet, and is only 150 meters. According to NASA, this is ‘more typical of the size of asteroids that could pose a more common hazard to Earth.’

‘The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera and sophisticated autonomous navigation software,’ NASA says.

‘The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent, enough to be measured using telescopes on Earth.’

So far, the estimated cost is about $69 million, including the launch service.

WHAT COULD WE DO TO STOP AN ASTEROID COLLIDING WITH EARTH?

Currently Nasa would not be able to deflect an asteroid if it were heading for Earth but it could mitigate the impact and take measures that would protect lives and property.

This would include evacuating the impact area and moving key infrastructure.

Finding out about the orbit trajectory, size, shape, mass, composition and rotational dynamics would help experts determine the severity of a potential impact.

However, the key to mitigating damage is to find any potential threat as early as possible.

Nasa is currently moving forward with a refrigerator-sized spacecraft capable of preventing asteroids from colliding with Earth. A test with a small, nonthreatening asteroid is planned for 2024.

This is the first-ever mission to demonstrate an asteroid deflection technique for planetary defence.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) would use what is known as a kinetic impactor technique—striking the asteroid to shift its orbit.

The impact would change the speed of a threatening asteroid by a small fraction of its total velocity, but by doing so well before the predicted impact, this small nudge will add up over time to a big shift of the asteroid’s path away from Earth.

 

SpaceX will launch NASA’s $69 million mission to crash a spacecraft into an ASTEROID in 2021

Comments 59

Share what you think

 
View all

The comments below have not been moderated.

 
View all

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

Add your comment

Enter your comment

Post comment to your Facebook Timeline
What’s This?

By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.

Submit Comment
Clear

Close

 

No
Yes

Close

We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.

You can choose on each post whether you would like it to be posted to Facebook. Your details from Facebook will be used to provide you with tailored content, marketing and ads in line with our Privacy Policy.

More top stories

Bing

Site
Web

Enter search term:
Search

Advertisement

  • Follow
    DailyMail

  • Follow
    @dailymail

  • Follow
    DailyMail

  • Follow
    Daily Mail

  • Download our iPhone app

  • Download our Android app

  • Declassified U2 spy plane photos taken in the 1950s and 60s expose hidden archaeological spots around the…

  • ESA releases footage of rocket’s upper stage breaking apart in orbit a DECADE after launch as top U.S….

  • Shocking report reveals more than 60,000 donated iPhones were SCRAPPED in the last three years because the…

  • Facebook accidentally shipped THOUSANDS of Oculus Touch controllers with joke labels such as ‘Big Brother is…

  • Scientists say our brains will connect to computers within decades to form an ‘internet of thoughts’ that…

  • SpaceX will launch NASA’s $69 million mission to crash a spacecraft into an ASTEROID in 2021 to test methods…

  • Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy flies again: Incredible moment SpaceX lands THREE boosters back on Earth after…

  • What COLOUR is your name? Scientists find we link vowels with certain colours – with Pete being green and…

  • Microplastics from ‘high-tech hiking gear’ has been found in remote glaciers for the first time, say…

  • Elon Musk says SpaceX has recovered BOTH rocket fairings from the ocean undamaged after Falcon Heavy launch…

  • You can now be fed by a ROBOT as engineers combine a dextrous machine with facial recognition to help feed…

  • NASA spots massive jet of high-energy particles spewing more than 1,000 light-years into space from the…

  • Facebook may put Messenger back into the main app ahead of Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to merge all of the firm’s…

  • Young people are doing WORSE than their parents: Just a THIRD of 30-year-olds are earning more than their…

  • Bizarre Instagram bug showed private users’ Stories to STRANGERS who don’t follow them

  • MORE HEADLINES
  • MOST READ IN DETAIL

 
 

DON’T MISS

Advertisement

 
 
 
 

GADGET REVIEWS

iPad Pro review: Apple takes the tablet to new heights (at a price)

Apple’s new iPad is blazingly fast, gorgeous to look at, and quite simply the best tablet out there – and for a lot of people, probably the best computer out there.

  • 43 comments

  • 1 video

 

The small smart display with big potential: Google Home Hub review

Google is late to the game with its Home Hub, but the low price and AI features make it a great choice for controlling your home, showing pictures and even helping run your life.

  • 1 comment

  • 2 videos

 

‘Good enough for most people’: iPhone XR review

On one hand, the XR lacks the high-resolution screen and dual-lens camera on the XS. but it is $250 cheaper and still get most of the other cutting-edge features found on the more expensive model.

  • 199 comments

  • 1 video

 

The Pixel 3 outsmarts the iPhone (IF you trust Google with all your information)

AI seems to permeate every part of its software, from the ability to answer calls for you to being able to almost perfectly predict your morning commute.

  • comments

  • 1 video

 

Bigger and better in every way: Apple’s XS really does take the iPhone to the Max

Apple’s new iPhone XS and XS Max go on sale on Friday – and the biggest handset Apple has ever made is also its best (and possibly unsurprisingly, its most expensive).

  • 17 comments

  • 1 video

 

The $250 beauty device that works like ‘Photoshop for your face’

Israeli beauty-tech firm Pollogen has launched its Geneo Personal device, which stimulates oxygen from beneath the skin’s surface to give you a clearer, fresher face within minutes.

  • 19 comments

  • 1 video

 

iOS 12 review: The update that really will improve your iPhone

Rather than cram in a plethora of new features, Apple’s latest update is about boosting stability, with improvements in everything from FaceID and battery life.

  • 208 comments

  • 2 videos

 

Naim Atom: The hifi that will change the way you listen to music

It’s eye-wateringly expensive at $2,999, but Naim’s Uniti Atom is a revelation, an integrated amplifier than makes it easy to stream music at a quality you’ve probably never heard before.

  • comments

 

The $1,000 wireless speaker that really IS worth the price: Naim Mu-so Qb review

Naim’s incredible Mu-So Qb takes you back to the good old days – where the music captivates and enthralls, rather that simply being something in the background.

  • comments

  • 1 video

 

The hi-tech $2,000 spin bike that really could change your life

Peloton’s hi-tech bike lets you stream live and on demand rides to your home – and it’s one of the best examples of fitness technology out there – at a price.

  • comments

  • 1 video

 

The best all in one wireless speaker you’ll ever hear: Naim Mu-so review

It might not be a name familiar to the US market, but Naim is a legendary British brand hoping to make a splash with the American launch of its $1499 Mu:So speaker.

  • 3 comments

  • 1 video

Next story

Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy flies again: Incredible moment SpaceX lands THREE boosters back on Earth after successfully completing the second-ever flight and first commercial mission of its megarocket

  • 351 comments

  • 3 videos

NEW ARTICLESHomeTop

Share

Sitemap

Archive
Video Archive
Topics Index
Mobile Apps
Screensaver
RSS
Text-based site
Reader Prints
Our Papers
Top of page

Daily Mail

Mail on Sunday
This is Money

Metro
Jobsite
Mail Travel
Zoopla.co.uk
Prime Location
Discount Codes
Betting

Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd

Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

© dmg media
Contact us
How to complain
Leadership Team
Advertise with us
Contributors
Terms
Privacy policy & cookies

Advertisement

Advertisement

Add comment