Tuesday, September 27, 2022

NASA DART Mission Asteroid Collision Images | LICIACube Spacecraft

NASA DART Mission Asteroid Collision Images LICIACube Spacecraft

Here are the first images taken in deep space by the Italian space agency's LICIACube during the impact of NASA's DART Mission on asteroid Dimorphos. These show the resulting cloud of ejected matter. The LICIACube’s images will help researchers better characterize the effectiveness of kinetic impacts in deflecting asteroids.

Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube) is a 6-unit CubeSat of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). LICIACube is a part of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission and is built to carry out observational analysis of the Didymos asteroid binary system after DART's impact. It communicates directly with Earth. It is sending back images of the ejecta and plume of DART's impact as well as performing asteroidal studies during its flyby of the Didymos system from a distance of 55.3 km (34.4 mi), 165 seconds after DART's impact. LICIACube is the first purely Italian autonomous spacecraft in deep space.

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, also known as DART, is humanity’s first attempt to change the motion of a non-hazardous asteroid in space by intentionally crashing a spacecraft into it. Post impact, ground-based observatories across the globe are turning their eyes to the skies to determine if this planetary defense test was successful. 

Mission control at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL) announced the successful impact at 7:14 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 26, 2022.

DART was a spacecraft designed to impact an asteroid as a test of technology. DART’s target asteroid is NOT a threat to Earth. This asteroid system is a perfect testing ground to see if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course, should a hazardous asteroid be discovered in the future.

For more on DART, visit https://nasa.gov/dart


Credit: Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)/NASA

Image Date: September 26, 2022

Release Date: September 27, 2022

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