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NASA Successfully Crashes Spacecraft Into Asteroid To Deflect Its Course

By 09/28/2022 8:00 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Achieving a feat that was only ever seen in sci-fi books and movies, NASA on Monday successfully crashed a spacecraft onto an asteroid to deflect its course slightly.

In a key test of the prospective ability to stop cosmic objects from devastating life on Earth, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spaceship which was launched from California last November and successfully hit its target, which posed no threat to Earth, at roughly 14,000 miles per hour.

“We have impact!” Mission Control’s Elena Adams announced, jumping up and down and thrusting her arms skyward. “As far as we can tell, our first planetary defense test was a success,” Adams later told a news conference, the room filling with applause. “I think Earthlings should sleep better. Definitely, I will.”

This whopping $325 million mission was the first attempt to shift the position of an asteroid or any other natural object in space. The test target was a 160-meter asteroid named Dimorphous. It’s a moonlet of Didymos, a fast-spinning asteroid five times bigger that flung off the material that formed the junior partner. DART was around the size of a vending machine.

The aim of striking Dimorphos head-on was to push it into a smaller orbit, shaving ten minutes off the time it takes to encircle Didymos, which is currently 11 hours and 55 minutes (a change that will now be determined in the coming weeks).

 

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