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Old 11-24-2021, 12:26 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Default DART launch tonight! (10:21 PM PST)

Hello All,

Tonight NASA fires the opening shot in a new war—against Earth-threatening asteroids (although the target is—or is going to be, for a long time, a non-combatant, due to its orbit). The DART (Dual Asteroid Redirection Test, see: https://dart.jhuapl.edu/ , https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense/dart , and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubl...edirection_Test ) spacecraft will be launched tonight—weather permitting as always, of course—from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle (see: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/11/...-status-center/ [live coverage will also be accessible from this SpaceFlightNow page; YouTube www.youtube.com will likely also carry it live]). The Falcon 9 carrier rocket is to be launched at 10:21:02 PM PST (1:21:02 AM EST; 0621:02 GMT), which is 9:21:02 PM Alaska Time, and:

If all goes well, DART will reach the potentially hazardous (to Earth) Apollo group *and* Amor group asteroid 65803 Didymos (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/65803_Didymos [and its moon Dimorphos: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimorphos ]) in October 2022, when DART will crash itself into Dimorphos at a speed of 6.6 kilometers (4.1 miles) per second. Five days before impact, DART will release an instrumented and imager-equipped CubeSat probe provided by Italy’s space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), which is called LICIACube (Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids). It will observe the impact from nearby and will return images and data on it to Earth (DART also has an onboard imager of its own, to aid the flight controllers in selecting the optimum impact site on Dimorphos), while the Lowell Observatory and other astronomical observatories on Earth watch from afar, to determine the Didymos system’s new, post-impact solar orbit.
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