DART is a very important mission of the NASA agency, the aim of which will be to change the trajectory of one of the two asteroids in close proximity. Scientists want to see if this will be possible and to what extent similar technologies can help save the Earth from a great catastrophe.
As part of the DART mission it will be sent as well a smaller vessel named LICIACubewhich will be the first deep space mission carried out by the Italians. It will separate from NASA’s spacecraft 10 days before it collides with the Dimorphos asteroid. The device is small and its weight is only 14 kg. For comparison, the DART itself, when unfolded, is to be the size of a school bus.
Engineer viewing LICIACube ship in the APL laboratory
The goal of the satellite will be collecting data from both asteroids – both before the collision with DART and after the crash. It will be possible with the use of two cameras named LUKE (LICIACube Unit Key Explorer) and LEIA (LICIACube Explorer Imaging for Asteroid). The center of the mission will be in Turin, Italy.