On Monday evening, a NASA spacecraft traveling at 14,000 miles per hour collided with an asteroid. The crash, however, was planned by NASA in order to alter the flying rock’s route in orbit. Despite the fact that the asteroid was not heading toward Earth, there was no threat of a collision. Although the asteroid poses no threat to Earth, researchers wanted to see if this strategy is possible in the event of a future threat of impact.
At 7:14 p.m. Eastern time, the agency’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft, or DART, collided with the asteroid Dimorphos. Dimorphos was approximately 6.8 million kilometers from Earth at the time of the impact. On Tuesday morning, NASA performed this screenplay in real life for the first time (04:46 am India time).
NASA scientists applauded as photos from the spacecraft were transmitted back to Earth, depicting the probe’s approach and crash with Dimorphos in increments. Representative Don Beyer of Virginia, who chairs the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, called the mission “historic” and “a very critical step forward for planetary security.”
Since November 24, 2021, when it began its 10-month voyage to Dimorphos, the DART spacecraft has been speeding toward its destination. The asteroid has a diameter of around 500 feet. The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was 6.2 miles broad in contrast.
“If a 160-meter asteroid [like Dimorphos] strikes a city, it will be a bad day for that city, leaving a crater of more than a kilometer, but it will not change the entire globe,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in 2021.
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