I'm an avid KSP player. Like some of them, I've been playing the DART simulation on the game. I've typically achieved impact velocities of 5-7 km/s, the higher end being achieved by propulsive acceleration close to impact. Will DART do this in real life (accelerating close to impact)?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is also the question: do we need a higher speed impact? This is a "downsized" exercise to get the data for the "big one" threat, if ever. So, perhaps the objective is to have just enough velocity to incur a measurable deviation, not really a "show of might". $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 10:49

1 Answer 1


It almost does not matter, with a maximum acceleration of $0.6mm/s^2$ (1/16500th of a g), the probe could only change its velocity by 1m/s over the last ten thousand kilometers of approach.

But no, they would not be thrusting during final approach, so as to simplify confirmation of accuracy and pointing restrictions on the probe.
Accuracy of impact is everything in this game.

(the KSP ion thruster is between 10 000 and 100 000 times too strong, compared to real life, and not a good comparison)

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah the ION engine does nothing here; but somehow it was supposed to be able to do course corrections on final approach by something. I suppose it could burn whatever that is. $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 3:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.