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NASA has Delayed the Start of the DART Asteroid Protection Mission

ByAdam Kowalski

Mar 4, 2021

National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established in reaction to the launch of the first satellite, Sputnik I, by the Soviet Union. The United States prided itself on being at the forefront of science and quickly started to react, signaling the US-Soviet space race. Asteroids are thought to have evolved early in our solar system’s evolution—about 4.5 billion years ago—when a disk of gas and dust called the solar nebula exploded, and the sun and planets were formed. By visiting these near-Earth structures to research the substance that originated from the solar nebula, humans will look for answers to some of humanity’s most compelling questions, such as how did the solar system shape?

Space exploration aims to enable specific findings. Scientific breakthroughs test human perceptions and extend their limits by discovering the unseen. Also, Space studies allow one to consider Earth’s health issues, thereby strengthening the health care system. The task of space exploration is an ongoing endeavor to develop ever more capable, efficient, and reliable structures that demand the utmost creativity. Moreover, space exploration missions use unique human strengths and Robotics capabilities to reach optimistic exploration targets. Space exploration encourages innovation and economic growth by promoting developments in science and technology, inspiring the global scientific and technical workforce, and extending the sphere of human economic life.

However, NASA has postponed deploying the first-ever ever planetary defense mission to deflect potentially dangerous asteroids from a collision with Earth. The mission, dubbed the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), would send a spaceship to test the crash of the near-earth binary asteroid system known as Didymos in the year 2022. NASA reported on February 17 that the primary deployment window from July 21 to August 24 of this year is no longer possible. Instead, the Space Agency aims at the contingency window that will open on November 24 and run on February 15, 2022, according to the NASA announcement.

The decision to delay the launch was taken by senior management of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) after a risk evaluation of the DART project timeline. Postponing the mission’s launch would not impact the arrival of the spacecraft at its target, scheduled for October 2022, NASA authorities said. The DART spacecraft will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. NASA is partnering with SpaceX and the Agency’s Launch Services Program to locate the launching potential within this secondary window as quickly as possible.

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