Friday, January 21

Protection of humanity: start of NASA’s mission to deflect the asteroid Dimorphos

A most ambitious experience. NASA launched this Tuesday from California (United States) its first defense mission to try to deviate the trajectory of an asteroid.

The US space agency’s mission, dubbed DART, took off from Vandenberg base aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

If no direct threat is caused by this space rock body, the objective is to train in the event of a necessary intervention.

To successfully deflect the asteroid in question, the American probe must crash into it. The impact must take place between September 25 and October 1, 2022.

It is difficult to know exactly how effective the technique will be. This is why a nanosatellite and telescopes will observe the phenomenon, and calculate the interest of this tactic. In 2023, the Hera satellite launched by ESA (European Space Agency) will study the new orbit of the target asteroid, named Dimorphos.

If this mission could give a form of additional insurance to space agencies, they nevertheless agree that the risk is minimal.

Indeed, no asteroid known at the moment is expected to pose a risk to Earth for at least a century. In addition, missions have been launched to study large asteroids and monitor their evolution. This is particularly the case with the Lucy probe, which left on October 16, and which must operate for twelve years. Let it be said, an Armageddon-style scenario is not planned for tomorrow.

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