Why ground-based telescopes are to DART

The action-packed mission of DART is a collaboration involving instruments in space and on the ground.

The drama unfolds in space for NASA's DART spacecraft, but mission success is dependent on telescopes on Earth.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft will collide into a small space asteroid dubbed Dimorphos on purpose on Monday (Sept. 26)

The practise is called planetary defence, and it tries to protect human civilisation from any massive asteroid that might collide with it.

For the mission to be successful, scientists must determine how much Dimorphos' orbit around its larger partner, Didymos, accelerates.

And the DART spacecraft won't be in any shape to perform that measurement, so mission humans will have to do it.

"There are very few missions in which telescope observations are important to assessing mission success."

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