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The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) study
has been undertaken by the Johns Hopkins Applied
Physics Laboratory with support from members of
NASA centers including the Goddard Space Flight
Center, the Johnson Space Center, and the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, as one of two elements of a
joint mission named Asteroid Impact & Deflection
Assessment (AIDA), which is a first demonstration
of asteroid deflection and a characterization of the
kinetic impact effects. AIDA consists of two
independent but mutually supporting missions, one of
which is the asteroid kinetic impactor and the other is
the characterization spacecraft. These two missions
are, respectively, DART and the European Space
Agency’s Asteroid Impact Monitoring (AIM)
mission. DART will be the first ever space mission to
deflect the trajectory of an asteroid and measure the
deflection to within 10%. This will be done using a
binary asteroid target with accurate determinations of
orbital period by ground-based observations. DART
will return vital data to determine the momentum
transfer efficiency of the kinetic impact
DART targets the asteroid Didymos in October, 2022,
during a close approach to Earth. The DART impact
will be observable by ground-based radar and optical
telescopes around the world, providing exciting
opportunities for international participation in this
first asteroid deflection experiment. The DART
mission will use ground-based observations to make
the required measurements of the orbital deflection,
by measuring the orbital period change of the binary
asteroid. The DART impact will change the period
by 0.5% – 1%, and this change can be determined to
10% accuracy within months of observations. The
DART target is specifically chosen because it is an
eclipsing binary, which enables accurate
determination of small period changes by groundbased
optical light curve measurements. In an
eclipsing binary , the two objects pass in front of
each other (occultations), or one object creates solar
eclipses seen by the other, so there are sharp features
in the lightcurves which can be timed accurately.
originally posted by: trifecta
As long as they don't incidentally develop a system that keeps us fenced in on this planet...
It's too bad we don't have the tech to use the Moon as a deterrent and shield. Saturn already has asteroid deflection figured out with its jazzy rings.