- The DART Mission
- Asteroid Dimorphos
Monday night’s historic event saw NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft successfully impact the asteroid Dimorphos, CNN reported.
DART’s camera captured incredible images of the asteroid’s surface just before it collided. The images show the moment of impact, with debris flying off the asteroid’s surface.
The DART mission is designed to test whether it is possible to deflect an asteroid by crashing a spacecraft into it. If the technique works, it could be used to protect Earth from a future asteroid collision.
The DART spacecraft hit Dimorphos at a speed of about 3.7 miles per second, and the impact was equivalent to detonating a half-ton bomb.
The asteroid Dimorphos is about 500 feet in diameter, and the impact created a crater that is about 50 feet wide. The collision, which was done on purpose and took place 6.8 million miles away from Earth, was humanity’s first attempt at deflecting an asteroid.
The DART spacecraft is now orbiting the asteroid, and will continue to collect data about the collision. The data will be used to improve models of how asteroids behave when they are hit by a spacecraft.
This is the first time that an impact experiment has been conducted in space, and it could help to save the Earth from a future asteroid collision.