The NASA Dart mission ship successfully crashed into the tiny asteroid Dimorphos at 19:14 on Monday, the space agency announced.
It will take days or weeks to detect any changes in the orbit of the asteroid that was chosen as the guinea pig in the Earth’s rogue rock defense plan.
The spectacle was observed around the world with numerous telescopes aimed at the impact point at a speed of 15,000 miles per hour, 6.8 million miles away. As astronomers noted, Dart’s radio signal stopped, but it was the only solid evidence of the impact.
This is part of a $ 325 million mission, a relatively small investment considering the havoc and damage that could be caused if a real asteroid hit Earth.
“No, this is not a movie,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson tweeted a pre-recorded video. “We’ve all seen it in movies like Armageddon, but the stakes in real life are high.”
This is mankind’s first attempt to shift a naturally occurring space object. Dimorphos, a 525-foot-tall 11-billion-pound boulder, is a mini-moon composed of material ejected by Didymos, an asteroid that is five times as large and spins very fast. The goal of the mission is to reverse the asteroid’s orbit around its parent by 10 minutes.
“Dinosaurs didn’t have a space program to help them know what’s coming, but we do,” NASA Senior Climate Adviser Katherine Calvin told AP. The mega asteroid that struck 66 million years ago is believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.
While no asteroid has been spotted that could pose a threat to Earth, the possibility exists and scientists want to be prepared. The successful blow made the scientists drink.
“We are entering a new era of humanity, an era in which we have the potential to protect ourselves from something like a dangerous, dangerous asteroid impact,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary division. “What an amazing thing. We have never had such an opportunity before. “
With News Wire services
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