- NASA made history with the DART mission, the first planetary defense attempt that involved intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid called Dimorphos.
Tracked live, the impact was observed by LICIACube, the James Webb Space Telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope, and NASA’s Lucy mission. Now, ground-based telescopes will be key to determining whether DART succeeded in changing Dimorphos’ trajectory.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission attempts to demonstrate the usefulness of the kinetic impact method, that is, without an explosive charge, in order to deflect potentially dangerous asteroids. It was the first human-designed planetary defense mission to change the trajectory and speed of an asteroid in space.
Live from @JHUAPL: Follow the real-time journey of the #DARTMission spacecraft towards its planned impact with a non-hazardous asteroid Dimorphos in the world’s first planetary defense test. https://t.co/315O4ltodl
— NASA (@NASA) September 26, 2022
In addition, this mission will allow experts to better understand the size and mass of asteroids, which is essential for understanding near-Earth objects.
Currently, there are more than 27,000 near-Earth asteroids, which come in various sizes and shapes.
This mission aims to test a defense system against asteroids that may represent a potential threat of collision with Earth. Despite the calculations of NASA engineers, what will happen once the impact is carried out is now being studied.
Although this collision did not pose any type of threat to our planet, it allowed to demonstrate for the first time that the technology available today can defend the Earth in case it is necessary in the future. To carry out this mission, a binary asteroid system was chosen that, at the time of the impact, was 11 million kilometers from Earth.