Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

This powerful ion engine will be flying on NASA's DART mission to try and redirect an asteroid
Phys.org ^ | 03/26/2020

Posted on 03/26/2020 7:35:10 PM PDT by BenLurkin

NASA's DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission is scheduled to launch on July 22, 2021. It's a demonstration mission to study the use of kinetic impact to deflect an asteroid. It'll head for the tiny binary asteroid system called Didymos, (or 65803 Didymos.) This double asteroid system poses no threat to Earth.

The larger of the pair, named Didymos A, is about 780 meters (2560 ft.) in diameter, while the smaller one, Didymos B, is only about 160 meters (535 ft.) DART will crash itself into the Didymos B. It's close to the typical size of an asteroid that threatens Earth.

DART has a lot of space to cover to reach Didymos. After launching in July 2021, it will reach its target in September 22nd, when the binary asteroid is within 11 million km (6.8 million miles) of Earth. And to get there, it'll rely on a powerful ion engine called NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster—Commercial (NEXT-C).

The engine comes in two primary components: the thruster and the power processing unit (PPU.) NEXT-C is getting ready for the mission with a series of tests, both performance and environmental. The thruster was put through vibration, thermal vacuum and performance tests before being integrated with its PPU. It was also subjected to simulated spaceflight conditions: the extreme vibration during launch, and the extreme cold of space.

NEXT-C is ... about three times more powerful than the NSTAR ion drives on NASA's DAWN and Deep Space One spacecraft.

NEXT can produce 6.9 kW thrust power and 236 mN thrust. The engine has produced the highest total impulse of any ion engine: 17 MN·s. It also has a specific impulse, which is a measure of how efficiently it uses propellant, of 4,190 seconds, compared to NSTAR's 3,120.

(Excerpt) Read more at phys.org ...


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: 1; 65803didymos; asteroid; astronomy; dart; didymos; didymosa; didymosb; ionengine; nasa; science

1 posted on 03/26/2020 7:35:10 PM PDT by BenLurkin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin
"This double asteroid system poses no threat to Earth."

Not until you smack into it with a spaceship it doesn't.

2 posted on 03/26/2020 7:39:26 PM PDT by edwinland
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edwinland

Yeah, trust me and my Viper pool que, you don’t hit the ball with the right amount of English, and you’re gonna redistribute the landscape on that felt. LOL


3 posted on 03/26/2020 7:43:33 PM PDT by Viking2002 (FREE JAMES WOODS! AGAIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin

So, if NASA was to redirect the asteroid and it caused Planet X in an alternate galaxy to be destroyed would there be hell to pay when the Mother ship arrived to extract vengeance?


4 posted on 03/26/2020 7:51:17 PM PDT by CARTOUCHE
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin

Will the mission director reluctantly say, “Missed it by THAT much!”


5 posted on 03/26/2020 7:57:09 PM PDT by Zuriel (Acts 2:38,39....Do you believe it?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin

Specific impulse of 4,190 sec is remarkable.

The Space Shuttle main engine (SSME) specific impulse is 452 sec in vacuum.

The Apollo Command and Service Module SPS main engine had specific impulse of 314 seconds, but that was because they used hypergolic fuel with somewhat lower energy density than liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen used by the SSME. That was because the SPS absolutely had to start.


6 posted on 03/26/2020 8:07:40 PM PDT by Steely Tom ([Seth Rich] == [the Democrats' John Dean])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

*ping*


7 posted on 03/26/2020 8:17:14 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Dear Mr. Kotter, #Epsteindidntkillhimself - Signed, Epstein's Mother)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fieldmarshaldj

Khan wound up marooned on Didymos B. I smell trouble.


8 posted on 03/27/2020 6:53:15 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin

This double asteroid system poses no threat to Earth currently but, after the experiment, all bets are off


9 posted on 03/27/2020 9:29:19 AM PDT by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now its your turn)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv; fieldmarshaldj
For God sakes don't let Steve Buscemi near this.


"She can ride on my nuke any day!"

10 posted on 03/27/2020 2:20:09 PM PDT by MikelTackNailer (thought we had the Commie's beat. Now we have to do it all over again.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv; fieldmarshaldj
For God sakes don't let Steve Buscemi near this.


"She can ride on my nuke any day!"

11 posted on 03/27/2020 2:20:48 PM PDT by MikelTackNailer (thought we had the Commie's beat. Now we have to do it all over again.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson