NASA’s DART anti-asteroid satellite successfully smashes into space rock

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NASA has accomplished a key step of its “Double Asteroid Redirection Test” (DART), smashing a satellite roughly the scale of a merchandising machine into a small moon that’s about half-a-mile in diameter. The moon, Dimorphos, is orbiting a fair bigger asteroid, Didymos, and whereas neither is in any hazard of colliding with Earth, they’re good take a look at instances to see whether or not us puny people smashing them with know-how could cause them to alter course.

DART is principally an indication of what can be a ‘Hail Mary’ cross within the case of any asteroid really threatening Earth — particularly, can we use a human-made spacecraft to redirect any planet-killers sufficient that they find yourself safely whizzing by our house planet as a substitute of inflicting a repeat of the extinction even that worn out the dinosaurs.

NASA launched DART final November, utilizing a SpaceX Falcon 9 to ship the satellite on its collision course with Dimorphos. The DART spacecraft smashed into the asteroid moon at a velocity of roughly 6.5 km per second on Monday night at 7:14 p.m. ET, with affirmation of influence coming in a sequence of photos from its onboard digicam.

Next, NASA might be gathering information on whether or not or not DART really had its supposed impact. That course of will take a number of weeks, and embody observations from Earth-based telescopes educated on Dimorphos and Didymos, in addition to space-based remark from the James Webb and Hubble space telescopes. If it seems this didn’t work as supposed, I suppose it’s again to the drafting board — my vote is for a completely operational Death Star.

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