NASA’s DART mission

  • IASbaba
  • September 15, 2022
  • 0
Science and Technology
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In news: NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission will be humanity’s 1st planetary defence system test (i.e. using defence technology in a civilian mission) to protect Earth from asteroids that could pose a threat to it in the future.

  • “Kinetic impact method” will be tested to redirect or divert the asteroids Dimorphos by crashing into it on September 26, 2022 and will slightly change the way it orbits Didymos.


  • About DART mission: Aim of the mission is to understand shape and composition of the asteroids based on the change in its orbit and based on the ejected material. DART weighs around 600 kilograms.
  • DART will target Didymos till about 50 minutes before impact. Other technologies like the DRACO camera and Roll-Out Solar Arrays (ROSA) will also be tested for future space exploration.
  • About Dimorphos: It is 160-metre-wide and orbits the much larger asteroid Didymos (about 780 metres wide). It poses no actual threat to Earth.
  • Telescopes in use: Webb Telescope, Hubble and a CubeSat called LICIACube to take measurements of the changes in the system and transmit back images.
  • DRACO, or Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation is a high-resolution camera to capture images of Didymos and Dimorphos while simultaneously supporting DART’s autonomous guidance system. Tt takes 38 seconds for one-way communication.
  • CubeSat, LICIACube is built by Italian space agency, has 2 cameras and operates autonomously.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) What is difference between asteroids and comets?

  1. Asteroids are small rocky plane­toids, while comets are formed of frozen gases held together by rocky and metallic material.
  2. Asteroids are found mostly between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, while comets are found mostly between Venus and mercury.
  3. Comets show a perceptible glowing tail, while asteroids do not.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

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