On Tuesday night, NASA’s spacecraft crashed into asteroid Dimorphos in a planned collision. This historic event gives hope for the protection of the planet.
Up until the moment the Dart spacecraft hit the asteroid at 01:14 Norwegian time, live images from NASA showed the event at one image per second.
The 160-meter asteroid is not on a collision course with Earth, but was chosen to test the planet’s defenses in case an object moves toward Earth and threatens life here.
So the aim is to see if sending such a spacecraft at high speeds can change the course of cosmic matter. This time they won.
– Technical presentation
– It was great to see the live pictures. “We’ve been talking about it since 2015, and now we’ve done it,” says Nancy Chabot, NASA’s Endurance Program Coordinator.
He calls the victory an amazing technological demonstration.
– A new era for mankind. It’s an era that has the potential to protect us from asteroid collisions, says Lori Glaze, NASA’s director of planetary science.
– This is the beginning, our first test, Chabot continues with their own live broadcast.
He says that they now need to see how effective their activity has been and improve it with the new knowledge they now have.
The project coordinator points out that the content may be of interest to researchers around the world and that protecting the planet is an international common goal.
11 million km from Earth
Last November, the spacecraft launched the Dart, or Double Asteroid Redirection Test, from California. Before it hit the asteroid, they reached a speed of 23,000 km/h.
According to The Guardian, the vessel, which is no more than 19 meters long, cost $330 million, about 3.5 billion Norwegian kroner.
The smaller moon Dimorphos is 11 million kilometers from Earth.
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