NASA’s DART spacecraft successfully hit an asteroid in a historic test of planetary defense

NASA’s asteroid-deflecting DART spacecraft successfully collided with a football-stadium-sized asteroid in a historic test of the world’s first planetary defense system designed to prevent an apocalyptic collision with Earth. did.

“Impact Success!” NASA declared on Twitter after a spacecraft flying at 14,000 miles per hour collided with “Dimorphos” at 7:14 pm ET Monday.

The U.S. space agency will live-stream the spacecraft’s progress and eventual impact, watching a vending-machine-sized spacecraft collide with a football-stadium-sized asteroid, Demorphos, for viewers around the world to watch the DART mission. I made it possible to see it with the DRACO camera.

According to NASA, the asteroid is currently about 6.8 million miles away and poses no threat to Earth.

The DART mission will help determine how this method can be used in real planetary defense situations. Because if the space rock is far enough away, a small change in the asteroid’s orbit could be enough to avoid the apocalyptic effects.

Double Asteroid Redirect Test

The DART mission (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) was designed to see if kinetic impulses change the velocity and path in space when a spacecraft crashes into an asteroid.

NASA chose to target the Dimorphos asteroid, which is about 530 feet in size. This Dimorphos asteroid of hers orbits a larger 2,560-foot asteroid known as Didymos, forming a binary near-Earth asteroid system.

DART’s impact on Dimorphos is expected to alter its orbit within the binary star system, with the goal of shortening the small asteroid’s nearly 12-hour orbit around the large asteroid by several minutes.

The DART research team will study the actual results of the tests over the next few weeks and compare them to “highly detailed computer simulations” of dynamic impacts on the asteroid.

The $325 million mission will help determine the effectiveness of DART’s kinetic impact on planetary defense, or the “nudging” approach.

Epoch Times photo
A television at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, captures the final image of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which will slam into the asteroid Demorphos on September 26, 2022. (Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images)

The DART spacecraft launched in November 2021 and took 10 months to reach its space rock target.

Deployed from the DART spacecraft, the Italian Space Agency’s LICIACube passes through Dimorphos about three minutes after the DART impact.

LICIACube is programmed to record impact effects, with two optical cameras capturing images of the asteroid’s surface and ejected debris from newly formed craters.

“CubeSat’s goal could be to confirm spacecraft impacts, observe the evolution of ejected plumes, and possibly acquire images of newly formed impact craters, as well as of Demorphos, which DART will never see. It’s about imaging the opposite hemisphere.” news release.

NASA will use telescopes on Earth to measure how much the DART mission affected asteroid movements in space.

Kayden Pearson


Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia. To contact him, please contact [email protected].