DART crashing into an asteroid

Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)

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Targeting an Asteroid: NASA’s First Planetary Defense Mission

NASA’s first planetary defense mission—the APL-led Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)—launched in 2021. DART is the first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique, which involves striking an asteroid to shift its orbit and deflect it from Earth. The APL-built DART spacecraft successfully impacted Dimorphos, the small moon of the binary asteroid Didymos, in 2022.

From Impact to Innovation: A Year of Science and Triumph for Historic DART Mission

Revisit DART’s triumphant collision with Dimorphos and the resulting year of science analysis and discoveries that followed.

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DART Impact

The final five-and-a-half minutes of images leading up to the DART spacecraft’s intentional collision with asteroid Dimorphos. The DART spacecraft streamed these images from its DRACO camera back to Earth in real time as it approached the asteroid. This replay movie is 10 times faster than reality, except for the last six images, which are shown at the same rate that the spacecraft returned them. Both Didymos and its moonlet Dimorphos are visible at the start of the movie. At the end, Dimorphos fills the field of view. The final image in the movie shows a patch of Dimorphos that is 51 feet (16 meters) across. DART’s impact occurred during transmission of the final image to Earth, resulting in a partial picture at the end of this movie. Didymos is roughly 2,500 feet (780 meters) in diameter; Dimorphos is about 525 feet (160 meters) in length.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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