Belgium joins NASA mission to defend Earth from asteroids

Belgium joins NASA mission to defend Earth from asteroids
Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The European Space Agency (ESA), and as a result, Belgium, will take part in an upcoming NASA mission to defend the planet against the threat of asteroids, Belga News Agency reports.

The mission, called “DART” (Double Asteroid Redirection Test), will examine whether a space vehicle is capable of deflecting an asteroid sufficiently by crashing on its surface so that it no longer constitutes a threat to Earth.

As a result, NASA launched a 620 kg machine into space in November of last year, which is due to collide at 03:14 on Monday with the asteroid Dimorphos.

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Dimorphos, which is a satellite of the larger Didymos asteroid, measures 160 metres and is currently situated at 11 million kilometres from earth.

The asteroid was discovered in 1996 and poses no threat to earth, where as DART and its two optical cameras are no bigger than a shoebox.

The effect of this collision will not be known immediately, warns the ESA who will be making they space tracking system available for the mission.

Furthermore, a research team from the Royal Observatory of Belgium will participate in the processing of the data delivered by DART, which will be used to better understand the internal composition of asteroids.

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