Southland residents might get a formidable pre-holiday aerial gentle present Tuesday night time, Nov. 23, when SpaceX makes an attempt to launch a NASA planetary-defense mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base, close to Lompoc, alongside the California central coast.
Depending on visibility, night-time rocket launches from Vandenberg can typically create dazzling gentle spectacles that may be seen throughout a lot of Southern California. SpaceX launches could be significantly spectacular, because the Hawthorne aerospace firm pilots the primary stage of its Falcon 9 rockets again to Earth following separation from the spacecraft being despatched into area.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch at 10:21 p.m. Tuesday, starting NASA’s (*23*) Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, mission.
The mission, sounding like a Hollywood film plot, will deliberately crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to decide if corresponding to effort can efficiently change the asteroid’s course.
The concept is to take a look at the expertise to see if it might redirect a future asteroid that could be on a collision course with Earth.
“While no identified asteroid bigger than 140 meters in dimension has a big likelihood to hit Earth for the subsequent 100 years,” in accordance to NASA’s mission web site, “solely about 40% of these asteroids have been discovered as of October 2021.”
The DART spacecraft will goal an asteroid often called Didymos, which is orbiting a bigger asteroid known as Dimorphos. Didymos is definitely thought of a “moonlet” and is about 160 meters in dimension, in accordance to NASA.
If all goes to plan, the DART spacecraft will slam into Didymos in September at a velocity of about 14,700 mph.
“The collision will change the velocity of the moonlet in its orbit round the primary physique by a fraction of 1 %,” in accordance to NASA, “however it will change the orbital interval of the moonlet by a number of minutes — sufficient to be noticed and measured utilizing telescopes on Earth.”
Dimorphos and Didymos pose no menace to Earth, and are being focused solely as a take a look at mission of the redirection expertise. The deliberate influence by the spacecraft will happen an estimated 6.8 million miles from Earth.