Monday, March 6, 2023 | 05:00 WIB
By : Faisal Maliki Baskoro / FMB
Monitors at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, captured the last image of the DART probe just before it crashed into the asteroid Dimorphos on September 26, 2022.
Jakarta, Beritasatu.com – NASA is developing a method to save Earth from colliding with meteors. The good news is that the method works.
According to scientists, the threat of a meteor hitting Earth cannot be underestimated. Asteroids or meteors as large as 96 km can cause the apocalypse. The chance of the Earth being hit by a meteor of that size may only occur once in 100 million to 200 million years, but a mini meteor with a size of about 100 meters can hit Earth every 20,000 years.
NASA launched a space mission that caught the public’s attention in 2021. This mission involves using a space probe called DART that crashes into an asteroid called Dimorphos. The goal is to find out if it is possible to change the trajectory of an asteroid or meteor with the potential to destroy a planet. Now, scientists from the DART team have analyzed data from the mission, and have published five papers in the journal Nature detailing the results from DART.
As a result, scientists found that this method can be used to protect the earth if a large asteroid threatens the earth. One of the solar panels from DART first hit Dimosphos before actually hitting the asteroid at a speed of 6 km per second.
The spacecraft hit the asteroid about 25 meters from its center, which was an important factor in the success of the mission, because it maximized the force of the impact. According to research, the collision managed to eject 1 million kilograms or 1,100 tons of rock from Dimorphos. The rock fragments were ejected from the asteroid and generated four times the momentum from the DART impact, changing Dimorphos’ trajectory even further.
Although NASA only tested this mission on one asteroid, scientists concluded that for an asteroid as large as Dimorphos (about 560 feet or 170 meters), NASA would not need to send out a survey mission first.
As long as NASA has a few years of warning before impact (a few decades would be better) then NASA will be able to repel future asteroids.
Franck Marchis of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, told Nature: “We can quickly design a mission to deflect an asteroid in the event of a threat, and we know that this has a very high chance of success.”
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