Week 39, 2022: The DART mission Successfully Crashes onto Dimorphos!

Artist's impression of DART crashing onto Dimorphos, the moon of asteroid 65803 Didymos

On September 26, 2022 the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission by NASA and the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) successfully demonstrates a method of planetary defense by crashing itself onto Dimorphos, the moon of the asteroid 65803 Didymos. Launched in 2021-Nov-24 from a Falcon 9, DART is designed to simulate a method of planetary defense called kinetic impactors, where a spacecraft uses its entire mass to slam itself onto an asteroid to knock off its course a little if its headed directly to Earth. The asteroids Didymos and Dimorphos themselves do not cross into Earth's orbit, and there's no chance they'll pose a threat to our planet for a foreseeable future even the mission itself goes awry

The whole event is recorded by a small cubesat called LICIACube, where it studied the immediate aftermath just 2 minutes and 45 seconds after the impact of DART to the asteroid moon. Analysis of the main probe's effects to the asteroid itself will be conducted by a European follow-up mission, called Hera, as early as 2026

You can download the Double Asteroid Redirection Test and 65803 Didymos addons to see the events in action on Celestia! The exact impact date/time on Celestia is 2022-Sept-26, 23:14:17 UTC

Source: NASA

The First Images from the JWST

65803 Didymos and its moon, Dimorphos, together at a distance of 920 km and T-2.5 minutes before impact

Dimorphos at a distance of 12 km away and literally T-2 seconds before impact

Final (complete) close-up image of Dimorphos ever taken by DART

LICIACube's view from afar of the moment of impact, 2022-Sept-26

Timelapse of 65803 Didymos, showing the collision of DART onto Dimorphos as observed by ground telescopes on ATLAS

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