IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


6th March, 2023 Science and Technology

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  • The Hubble Space Telescopehas captured a series of images from before, and after the Double Asteroid Redirection Test or the (DART) mission.


  • DART is a spacecraft designed to impact an asteroid as a test of technology.
  • DART is a planetary defense-driven test of technologies for preventing an impact of Earth by a hazardous asteroid.
  • DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space.
  • The binary near-Earth asteroid (65803) Didymos is the target for the DART demonstration.

Didymos is the twin-asteroid system Didymos is a binary near-Earth asteroid.

  • The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact deflection by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6.6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera (named DRACO) and sophisticated autonomous navigation software.
  • The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent, but this will change the orbital period of the moonlet by several minutes - enough to be observed and measured using telescopes on Earth.
  • Once launched, DART will deploy Roll Out Solar Arrays (ROSA) to provide the solar power needed for DART’s electric propulsion system.
  • The DART spacecraft will demonstrate the NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster – Commercial (NEXT-C) solar electric propulsion system as part of its in-space propulsion.
  • NEXT-C is a next-generation system based on the Dawn spacecraft propulsion system, and was developed by NASA.
  • By utilizing electric propulsion, DART could benefit from significant flexibility to the mission timeline while demonstrating the next generation of ion engine technology, with applications to potential future NASA missions.


  • Hera will arrive at the Didymos system in 2027 to measure the impact crater produced by the DART collision and study the change in the asteroid’s orbital trajectory.


Q) Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a. DART is a planetary defense-driven test of technologies for preventing an impact of Earth by a comet.

b. DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique to change the motion of comet in space.

 I. Only a

II. Only b

III. Both a and b

IV. Neither a nor b

Answer: Option IV