NASA’s DART Asteroid-Smashing Mission Spies on Jupiter (Photos)

NASA’s asteroid-smashing DART mission snapped a photo of Jupiter and its four largest moons to test the autonomous navigation system that will guide the spacecraft to an asteroid collision next week.

The image, released by NASA on Tuesday (September 20), was actually taken in the summer when ARROW was about 16 million miles (26 million kilometers) away Earth and is cruising toward its destination, the binary asteroid system of Didymos and Dimorphos. DART operators used Jupiter and its four Galilean moons to validate how close together objects appear to the DRACO camera, which is DART’s sole instrument and the heart of DART’s Small-Body Maneuvering Autonomous Real Time Navigation (SMART Nav) system.

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