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World of Science - Asteroids: Impact on Demorphos

World of Science – Asteroids: Impact on Demorphos

It’s been ten months en route to its destination, the DART space probe, the double asteroid redirection test. It was launched on November 24, 2021 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, north of Los Angeles. DART was the first US spacecraft to embark on its mission from the country’s west coast, with all other NASA probes so far taking off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. After its launch, DART (Arrow) moved in orbit around the Sun and aligned with the orbit of binary near-Earth asteroid (65803) Didymos with its moon Dimorphos. Ten months later, the 570-kilogram probe self-propelled toward Demorphos at a relative speed of 6.15 kilometers per second (22,140 kilometers per hour) and deliberately collided with a great force, completely destroying DART.