In a historic moment for human advancement, NASA has successfully smashed the DART spacecraft into an asteroid.
It was a momentous event in the effort to protect Earth from a potential catastrophic asteroid impact in the future.
DART, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, struck the asteroid in a first-ever of its kind maneuver on the surface of a small and benign space rock known as Dimorphos, currently in the solar system around 6.8 million miles from Earth.
The impact was an attempt to test whether or not it’s possible to “nudge” an asteroid off of an impact trajectory with our home planet, and the $325M project aimed to shorten Dimorphos’ orbit by 12 hours.
While it seems minor, that’s exactly the point – they want to test the lower limits of their ability to change asteroid trajectory so they don’t accidentally fling an asteroid in a dangerous direction if it ever becomes necessary to shift one in the future to protect Earth.
DART crashed into Dimorphos late Monday at a rate of around 14,000MPH – data will take several weeks to compile as to whether it worked or not.
For now, it’s one of those moments that could spell hope for the future if any NEOs (Near-Earth Objects) should threaten.
The end is near.