[VIDEO] Watch Full Rocket Launch for NASA DART Mission to Destroy Asteroid

[VIDEO] Watch Full Rocket Launch for NASA DART Mission to Destroy Asteroid
NASA is testing Earth's planetary defense mechanisms, and it features a rocket smashing on an asteroid to knock it off trajectory. As of Tuesday, 10:21 PM PT, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft launched for space. Photo : NASA/AFP via Getty Images

NASA is testing Earth's planetary defense mechanisms, and it involves a rocket smashing on an asteroid to knock it off trajectory. As of Tuesday, 10:21 PM PT, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft launched for deep space.

Full video coverage is available in this article.

NASA wants to be ready for the unlikely circumstance that asteroids could hit Earth. One of its proposed solutions is the "kinetic impactor" method, which takes advantage of current technology. This method creates the NASA DART mission, a real proof-of-concept experiment.

NASA said they conducted a lot of experiments and simulations. However, this is not enough, especially for space research. An asteroid's internal composition and porosity is something that science on Earth cannot identify, so researchers have to take their science to outer space.

This experiment features launching a rocket to outer space and targeting the object Dimorphos. This is a moonlet (525 feet), circling a much bigger asteroid called Didymos (2,500 feet). Together, they orbit around the Sun, more than 6.8 million miles away from Earth.

Watch NASA DART Launch

As previously mentioned, DART launched on Tuesday aboard a SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. NASASpaceflight covered the launch event in a YouTube video, which is embedded below. Interested fans can skip to events like the launch (1:04:21), stage one separation (1:07:18), and rocket landing (1:13:20). NASA also tweeted video highlights of the launch. The post description said, "launching the world's first mission to test asteroid-deflecting technology."

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NASA DART Mission Details

Now that DART spacecraft has launched, it will travel through deep space towards the asteroids. The impact should take place in fall 2022, when the asteroids will be at their nearest point to Earth. However, to be clear, both the success and failure of the experiment pose no threat to Earth.

The DART probe, approximately the size of a fridge, will hit Dimorphos with a speed over 15,000 miles per hour. According to PhysOrg, the kick should barely shave off 10 minutes of Domorphos' orbit from the initial 11 hours and 55 minutes. This means no debris or asteroids will be sent in Earth's direction.

The DART spacecraft carries a sophisticated instrument for navigation and imaging. It is also equipped with the Italian Space Agency's Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube), which will watch over the crash after-effects. All data gathered for this experiment will be helpful to researchers on Earth.

Space fans have to wait for the grand finale, which should take place sometime between September 26 and October 1, 2022. For now, fans have to settle with this cool NASA DART board, which can help them practice their own aiming skills on asteroid hits.


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