NASA has just reported the great success that was DART Mission which is the first unmanned spacecraft destined to crash at full speed into an asteroid to deflect its trajectory in space. The
National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched an experiment to prevent future collisions with the Earth, which could be catastrophic, as it happened 66 million years ago when a similar phenomenon caused the extinction of most life on earth.
The impact was at 7:14 ET
The impact was confirmed by NASA at 19:14 (ET), which reported that the impact occurred at a speed of 3.9 miles per second against the surface of the asteroid Dimorphos, located about 11 million kilometers from Earth.
The asteroid was far from earth
The spacecraft was equipped with transmission equipment that allowed the impact to be viewed in real-time and that worked perfectly. However, astronomers will have to wait days or even weeks to see if the spacecraft achieved its goal of slightly altering the asteroid’s orbit.
The mission cost $330 million
The project was called the Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART) and the spacecraft sent was the size of a school bus, the mission cost more than $330 million.
Dimorphos gets hit
The asteroid is called Dimorphos (“two shapes” in Greek), which has a diameter of more than 175 yards which is a satellite of another bigger asteroid called Didymos which has a diameter of about 850 yards. Both asteroids were chosen by NASA because they pose no threat to Earth.
DART targeted Dimorphos but there is still Didymos
DART’s impact on Dimorphos may have caused a crater and launched small rocky fragments into space. The entire event was recorded by a small satellite developed by the Italian Space Agency that followed the operation from a distance to take images of the impact and send them to scientists.
NASA administrator compared the mission to Armageddon
Before the impact, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson explained on Twitter that the goal of this experiment would be to replicate what happened in the science fiction movie “Armageddon”, where a space mission is formed to destroy an asteroid that is dangerously close to Earth. In this case, the goal was to slightly deflect the meteorite, as a strong impact could cause a domino effect with rocks falling to Earth.
Currently, NASA does not have any object on its radar that could pose a direct threat to Earth over the next 100 years, but has decided to test its technology to be prepared.