DART Mission | Why in the News?

DART Mission | Why in the News?

DART Mission

  Why in the News?

Recently, one research paper was published by well-known scientists Melamed and Heinsheimer in which they introduced a concept of material ejection to gradually alter an asteroid’s trajectory; that concept is compared with the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) Mission of NASA.




  • DART is a spacecraft intended to strike an asteroid as a test of technology.
  • DART is a technology test program for a planetary defense that aims to stop dangerous asteroids from striking Earth.
  • The kinetic impactor method, which can alter an asteroid’s motion in space, will be shown for the first time with DART.
  • The target of the DART demonstration is the binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos (65803).

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Didymos is the twin-asteroid system which is a binary near-Earth asteroid.


  • Using advanced autonomous navigation algorithms and an onboard camera called DRACO, the DART spacecraft will purposefully crash into the moonlet at a speed of about 6.6 km/s to achieve the kinetic impact deflection.
  • The impact will cause the moonlet’s orbital period to shift by a few minutes, altering its speed by a mere 1%, but this will still allow for observation and measurement of the moonlet using Earthbound telescopes.
  • To supply the solar energy required for DART’s electric propulsion system, Roll Out Solar Arrays (ROSA) will be deployed after the project is begun.
  • The DART spacecraft’s in-space propulsion will include a demonstration of the NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster Commercial (NEXT-C) solar electric propulsion system.
  • NASA developed NEXT-C, a next-generation system based on the Dawn spacecraft propulsion system.
  • DART might demonstrate the next generation of ion engine technology and gain a great deal of mission timeline flexibility by using electric propulsion, which could have implications for future NASA missions.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. DART is a technology test program for planetary defense that aims to stop comets from striking Earth.
  2. The DART mission will mark the first instance of the kinetic impactor technology being used to alter a comet’s motion in space.

a.1 only

b.2 only

c.Both 1 and 2 only

d.Neither 1 nor 2

 Ans. d.Neither 1 nor 2

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