ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

NASA fires a spacecraft into an asteroid to test Earth’s defense systems

by | Last updated on Sep 28, 2022 at 11:55AM | Published on Sep 27, 2022 | Tech

Illustration of DART, from behind the NEXT–C ion engine

NASA has successfully fired a spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos in a crucial test of Earth’s defense systems.

The space probe called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) was crashed directly into the 160m-wide asteroid and destroyed upon impact.

Why, you might ask?

The aim was to see if we could divert an asteroid that was on track to collide with our planet.

READ MORE: NASA’s Perseverance rover is close to finding life on Mars

It’s worth highlighting at this point that Dimorphos posed no threat to Earth, so it’s an ideal test for NASA’s technology.

Dimorphos – which is Greek for ‘two forms’ – is considered an asteroid moonlet.

That’s because it orbits a larger asteroid called Didymos – another Greek name, this time meaning ‘twin’.

The aim of crashing DART into Dimorphos is to divert it from its original orbit to a new, closer orbit to Didymos.

As DART hurtled toward the asteroid, it returned a photograph of it every second up until the point of impact.

The probe crashed into the asteroid at a speed of roughly 21,600km/h (14,400mph).

CHECK THIS OUT!

It performed the entire test autonomously, which was a key component of the testing NASA did with this experiment.

The asteroid pair is currently around 11 million kilometers (7 million miles) away from Earth.

How successful was the mission?

Over the coming weeks, a global team of scientists will be monitoring the pair to see how effectively DART altered its orbit.

So, it will take some time before we know just how well it went.

However, the team at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) said they were very happy with the mission.

“This first-of-its-kind mission required incredible preparation and precision, and the team exceeded expectations on all counts,” APL director Ralph Semmel said.

“Beyond the truly exciting success of the technology demonstration, capabilities based on DART could one day be used to change the course of an asteroid to protect our planet and preserve life on Earth as we know it.”

FOLLOW US ON
FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS

Check this out

De Tomaso unveils all-new $3 million hypercar, the P900

De Tomaso unveils all-new $3 million hypercar, the P900

This is De Tomaso’s all-new $3 million hypercar.  Called the P900, there will be just 18 examples ever made.  The good news is that there’s still a small number available to buy (if you’ve got $3 million to spend, that is). De Tomaso Automobili READ MORE!...

Ferrari signals new design language with new Vision GT concept

Ferrari signals new design language with new Vision GT concept

This is the Ferrari Vision Gran Turismo.  Ferrari says the concept car, which has been designed specifically for the Gran Turismo video game, represents the future of its road and racing cars.  This means you can expect to see aspects of the car in future...

ADVERTISEMENT

Most Popular This Week

PAID CONTENT

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!