In the first ever test of Earth's planetary defense system, NASA hit a spaceship into an asteroid.
The asteroid Dimorphos was hit by the Double Asteroid Redirection Test. On Monday, we will attempt to change an asteroid's trajectory. The impact will be a demonstration of how humans could prevent a catastrophic collision with our planet.
The DART craft made a direct hit with the asteroid Di.
What happened when the asteroid hit?
RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU...
We've impacted, now is when the science begins. "Now we're going to see how effective we were," said the director of NASA's Planetary Science Division.
The goal was to slow Dimorphos around Didymos, which is 1,280 feet wide. If Dimorphos slows by 73 seconds, NASA will deem it a success, but the real change could be as little as 10 minutes. Nancy Chabot said that the data from the DART mission will tell us how successful the mission was.
DART was launched from a Space Force Base in California and went to the asteroids.
The final moments of DART were captured by its onboard Didymos and asteroid camera for optical navigation. NASA scientists said that Dimorphos was not visible to the DART camera system until an hour after impact. The asteroid grew to a small size three minutes before the crash. The rough terrain and shadowy boulders became larger as the craft approached Dimorphos.
Just moments before DART made contact, the final images of the target were snapped by the spaceship's camera.
The Italian space agency's LICIACube will be used by scientists to get a better picture of the impact. The aftermath of the collision will be photographed by LICIACube at a distance of 55 km. As a result of the collision, telescopes on all seven continents will be trained to measure the brightness of the rock that was thrown off.
The collision was watched by telescopes on the ground, as well as the agency's Lucy satellite. Scientists are looking to understand how much force is required to divert an asteroid.
The European Space Agency's Hera mission will launch towards Didymos and Dimorphos in 2026 to study the long-term effects of the crash.
The planners of the mission think that just making it to the minuscule target is a major achievement.
Tom Statler, the program scientist at NASA, said at the news conference thatmorphos is a tiny asteroid. We don't know what it is, we don't know what shape it is. The technical challenges of DART are caused by that. It's difficult to hit an asteroid.
NASA deputy administrator Pam Melroy said that the closeup of the space rock was stunning.
Melroy was ecstatic as he saw the camera getting closer and realized all the science would be learned. They were tiny blobs of light and now they are real objects.
It was originally published on Live Science