Two weeks after launching, NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission has already sent back its first images.
NASA launched its DART mission back at the end of November, and two weeks after the launch, the spacecraft destined to collide with an asteroid opened its "eye" called Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) to snap images of its journey. The images have been shared by NASA, and according to the space agency, the above image showcases about a dozen stars near the constellation Perseus, Aries and Taurus intersect.
The first image was taken about 2 million miles away from Earth, which is still described as "very close, astronomically speaking". Additionally, NASA explains that the DART team used the images of the stars to see how precisely DRACO was orientated, giving the team the first data points for the accuracy of the camera direction relative to the spacecraft. On December 10 the team captured an image of the Starfish Cluster located 4,200 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Auriga.
NASA explains that capturing images of many stars allows the team to identify any imperfections in the images and calibrate "how absolutely bright an object is - all important details for accurate measurements when DRACO starts imaging the spacecraft's destination, the binary asteroid system Didymos", writes DART.
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