Finally, almost a year after launch, the DART spacecraft mission has been launched from NASA, finally collided with the asteroid Demorphos on Monday night (26), while it was flying at a speed of 22,500 km / h. a digital look broadcast live collision payment.
Although the ship’s explosion seemed like an accident, this time the act was intentional. Reason: special defense. NASA wanted to test Earth’s ability to deal with threats in the event that a dangerous asteroid collides with Earth one day. More concrete data about the collision should be announced in the coming weeks.
“At its core, DART represents an unprecedented success for planetary defense, but it is also a unit mission of real benefit to all of humanity,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “While NASA studies the universe and our home planet, we are also working to protect this home, and this international collaboration has turned science fiction into science fact, demonstrating a way to protect Earth.”
“We are changing the motion of a natural celestial body in space. Humanity has never done this before,” said Tom Statler, NASA’s DART program scientist. “These are things from sci-fi books and Star Trek episodes that are really cliched as a kid, and now they are real.”
“The success of DART provides an important addition to the suite of essential tools we must have to protect Earth from a devastating asteroid impact,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer. This shows that we are no longer powerless to prevent this type of natural disaster. Combined with improved capabilities to accelerate the detection of the group of dangerous asteroids remaining in our next planetary defense mission, the Near-Earth Object (NEO), the successor to DART may provide what we need to save the day.”
Understand NASA’s DART mission
The DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission was launched on November 24 last year, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, to reach a binary system consisting of two asteroids: Didymos, 780 meters in diameter, and its “moon” Demorphos, nearly five times.
Roughly four years from now, the European Space Agency’s Hera project will conduct detailed surveys of Demorphos and Didymus, with a particular focus on the crater left by the DART collision and an accurate measurement of Demorphos’ mass.
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