(Argotec / INAF https://bit.ly/3xBSq5h)
The asteroid Dimorph will soon be impacted by a NASA mission.
The Italian satellite LICIACube successfully separated from the DART probe and began an independent flight to the asteroid Dimorph.
It is expected that DART will ram the asteroid on September 27, and LICIACube will observe the whole process, as well as photograph the resulting crater.
DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) will be the first practical test of a controlled impacting method designed to protect the Earth from potentially dangerous asteroids.
The 160-meter asteroid Dimorph, which is part of the binary system (65803) Didim, was chosen as a test body.
It is expected that a controlled collision of a 550-kilogram device with the asteroid will change its orbital period by several minutes
This signal will mean the success of the mission.
Currently, the probe is on the final stage of its flight to the asteroids and regularly observes them using the DRACO navigation camera.
In the near future, DART will perform 3 trajectory correction maneuvers based on these observations.
The final maneuver will take place a day before the collision, after which DART will go into autonomous mode and ram Dimorph on September 27, 2022.
On September 11, the LICIACube cubesat satellite successfully separated from the DART ship.
This 6U device is equipped with two cameras - with a wide and narrow field of view.
Its tasks will be to observe the dust ejection from the surface of the asteroid during the ram, and to obtain images of the crater from a height of about 55 kilometers, 3 days after the impact.
Then all the images will be transmitted to Earth, and if the device is operational and it has fuel left, then the cubesat can be sent to another asteroid.
It is expected that in 2027 the Hera station will reach Dimorph and will examine the system in detail and confirm the change in the asteroid's orbit.
INAF Institute: https://www.media.inaf.it/2022/09/12/go-liciacube-go/
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