NASA made history last night by performing the “first planetary defense test” of our planet against an asteroid impact
NASA made history tonight by performing the “first planetary defense test” of our planet against an asteroid impact.
– This is for history – said from NASA.
The purpose of the mission is to protect Earth from a potential collision with a NEO – NASA’s term for a “near-Earth object” – an asteroid or comet – that could approach orbit.
The last images that the spacecraft sent to Earth before the impact are impressive and the surface of the asteroid itself can be seen in detail.
DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) is the first mission to redirect the path of a hazardous object in a direct experiment to prevent it from impacting Earth, said space mission director Thomas Zurbuchen.
IMPACT SUCCESS! Watch from #DARTMIssion‘s DRACO Camera, as the vending machine-sized spacecraft successfully collides with asteroid Dimorphos, which is the size of a football stadium and poses no threat to Earth. pic.twitter.com/7bXipPkjWD
— NASA (@NASA) September 26, 2022
“At its core, DART is a huge success for planetary defense, but it’s also a mission of unity with real benefits for humanity,” said NASA Director Bill Nelson, adding that in addition to studying space and Earth, NASA also works to protect him.
The spacecraft flew through space for 10 months before hitting the small asteroid with a diameter of 160 meters last night. Dimorphos is actually a satellite of the larger Didymos, which has a diameter of 780 meters, and none of these asteroids posed a threat to our planet.
After the successful kinetic impact, scientists will now study the small asteroid with telescopes to confirm that they have changed its orbit around Didymos. They are expected to have changed the orbit by 1 percent, or shortened it by 10 minutes.
– Now we know that we can target aircraft with enough precision that they can hit even small objects in space. Only a small change in their speed is enough to make a big change in the trajectory of a certain asteroid – said Zurbuchen.
Did you catch the #DARTMission stream live or Didymos it? Impact is over, but the research continues. As scientists delve into data and telescopes release images of the asteroid from their POV, follow @AsteroidWatch and @NASASolarSystem for updates. https://t.co/ZNEYDQVA8Y pic.twitter.com/dn2veS6zbG
— NASA (@NASA) September 27, 2022