HEADLINE: NASA Mission Hits Asteroid, Effectively Protects Earth?

Liputan6.com, Jakarta – The countdown from 10 marks the departure of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, United States. A few minutes before launch, a thick plume of white smoke was visible from the mission NASA named the DART.

“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero, get into position, take off,” said a man in the control room in a live broadcast from a Youtube account. NASASpaceflight on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at 10:21 a.m. Pacific Time.

DART is a NASA mission to launch a spacecraft that is scripted to crash into an asteroid so as not to hit Earth. This SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will be on its way to hitting an asteroid more than 6 million miles away.

Quoted from Fortune, Thursday (11/25/2021), scientists hope to observe how the impact of a rocket collision will change the asteroid’s trajectory.

If the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission proves successful, it will provide insight into how scientists might be able to steer asteroid the future, especially one that poses a more direct danger to the Earth.

“If one day an asteroid is found on a collision course with Earth, then we will have an idea of ​​how much momentum we need to make the asteroid miss Earth,” Andy Cheng, head of the DART investigation team, told CNN.

While this particular asteroid’s size and distance prevent it from becoming an ‘Armageddon’ level threat to Earth, this week’s launch is the first of NASA’s defense efforts to understand how to prevent a worst-case scenario on the human planet.

According to the Head of the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), Thomas Djamaluddin, this test was carried out by NASA on one of the twin asteroids.

“At the time of testing, the position of the asteroid was very far from Earth, about 11 million km. The test was carried out by hitting a small asteroid (measuring 160 m) orbiting a large asteroid (measuring 780 km),” said Thomas when contacted Liputan6.com, Thursday (25/11/2021).

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The name of the smaller asteroid that is the goal of this mission is Dimorphos. The asteroid orbits a larger asteroid called Dydimos.

“The asteroid will be hit by the DART spacecraft at a speed of 6.6 km / sec. With this collision, it is hoped that the orbit of the small asteroid will change. Such a scenario will be carried out if there is an asteroid that threatens Earth,” said Thomas, explaining further.

Contacted separately, researcher in the field of astronomy/astrophysics at the Center for Space Research at the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Dr. Rhorom Priyatikanto said that the twin asteroids were chosen because NASA wanted to know the effect of the DART collision on Dimorphos’ orbit around Dydimos.

He said the effect was easier to measure than changes in its orbit around the Sun. Because, according to Rhorom, if you measure changes in the asteroid’s orbit around the Sun, it will take years to see the deflection effect caused by the relatively small DART collision.

“So, when asked about its effectiveness (currently) in repelling asteroids that will enter Earth, the answer is still very low. However, DART is a test of technology that will protect Earth in the future,” Rhorom explained.

Therefore, he continued, DART could be a method to repel asteroids that could bring disaster to Earth in the future. Moreover, there is the potential for asteroids to endanger the Earth.

Rhorom said, if you look at history, asteroids can indeed have a dangerous impact on Earth. He gave an example, the dinosaurs that became extinct due to the catastrophe caused by the fall of an asteroid.

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“Recently there has been a terrible incident in Chelyabinski or Tungushka (Russia). The meteor explosion in Bone, Bali, Lampung is also considered the tail of the phenomenon of falling space objects,” he continued.

For this reason, an asteroid hitting Earth is a necessity. But that is not happening in the near future.

“The event that destroyed dinosaurs happened every million years. Lighter events are certainly more frequent and NASA’s effort (followed by ESA) is an effort planetary defense, “he said closing the discussion.

The DART mission will send its spacecraft to two asteroids named Didymos and Dimorphos. The smaller of the two. Dimorphos, will be hit by a rocket the size of a golf cart traveling at 15,000 miles per hour.

But if you expect to see the asteroid crash in the near future, you’ll need to be more patient. NASA’s spacecraft is expected to strike Dimorphos in the fall of 2022.

The global space organization is following NASA’s efforts to find the most effective way to prevent a potentially catastrophic asteroid from hitting Earth. The European Space Agency will send its own mission in 2024 to observe the crater on Dimorphos from DART.

Scientists have just identified about 40% of small objects in space, including asteroids, that have the potential to destroy a city. NASA plans to continue to search for and identify objects close to Earth that may pose a threat.

* To find out the truth of the information circulating, please WhatsApp to the number 0811 9787 670 just by typing the desired keyword.

NASA’s Osiris-Rex is preparing to land on the surface of the Asteroid Bennu. The spaceship will descend on it Nightingale. A rocky area with a diameter of 16 meters.

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