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DART: Can We Change an Asteroid’s Course and Save Planet Earth?

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, is the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test, demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection technology. True to its name, DART is a focused mission to prove whether a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid, intentionally collide with it and protect Earth from a potential asteroid impact.

The mission target, which poses no threat to Earth, is the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos (Greek for “two forms”), which orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos (Greek for “twin”).

Join SETI Institute Senior Astronomer Franck Marchis and Beth Johnson for a special SETI Talks with scientists involved in the mission or planetary defense at large. We will follow the spacecraft as it approaches its target, learn about the navigation system from JPL and APL engineers and scientists, see how astronomers around the world will watch the impact using other facilities and discuss why it matters. Finally, we will collaborate with Unistellar citizen astronomers live from Reunion Island to watch the impact and see if any aftermath is detected.

Our guests will include:

  • Dr. Larry Denneau, ATLAS Co-PI and Senior Software Engineer at the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai'i
  • Dr. Julie Bellerose, DART Navigation Team Chief at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Dr. Amanda Sickafoose, Planetary Science Institute
  • Dr. Nicolas Erasmus, Planetary Science Institute
  • Dr. Michael Busch, SETI Institute research scientist
  • Dr. Andrew Chen, chief scientist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Dr. Jian-Yang Li, Planetary Science Institute
  • Dr. Ryan Lambert, SETI Institute
  • Patrice Huet, Unistellar Network
  • Dr. Joe Masiero, Caltech/IPAC


2:30-2:40pm PDT

  • Welcome and introduction

2:40-3:00pm PDT

  • Larry Denneau - Introduction to near-Earth asteroids and ATLAS
  • Julie Bellerose - DART navigation, sequence of events

3:00pm-3:20pm PDT

  • Alex Meyer (Colorado University) - post-impact dynamics - what can we expect.
  • Amanda Sickafoose & Nic Erasmus (from SA)

3:20-3:40pm PDT

  • Michael Busch - What do we know from RADAR ops?
  • Andy Cheng - “Why Dart?” and reveal of first image of Dimorphos

3:40-4:00pm PDT

  • Jian-Yang Li - HST observations of the DART impact, as well as other planned observations of the ejecta
  • Ryan Lambert

4:00-4:20pm PDT

  • Impact live (NASA feed + Reunion Island feed) - Impact!
  • Patrice Huet and more observers in Reunion Island
  • Joe Masiero - NEOWISE and NEO Surveyor

4:20-4:40pm PDT

  • Wrap up with all scientists

Monday, 09/26/22


Website: Click to Visit



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