NASA's first attempt to crash a spaceship into an asteroid succeeded in changing its path so that it wouldn't hit Earth.

Scientists didn't know if they moved Dimorphos until now. The loop was sped up from 11 hours and 55 minutes to 11 hours and 23 minutes using ground telescopes. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, better known as DART, only took 73 seconds to be confirmed.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson said at a news conference that it was a "watershed moment for planetary defense" and a "watershed moment for humanity".

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The broadcast of the $330 million carefully orchestrated collision two weeks ago gave viewers a deer in-headlights experience. The team of scientists and engineers, as well as the general public, were able to see a stadium-sized rock grow from a mere dot of light to a rocky egg-shaped boulder. A closeup of an event happening 6.8 million miles away almost unfolded in real time with a 45 second delay.

There was no explosives in the 1,300 pound craft.

The mission is similar to running a golf cart into a pyramid. The asteroid didn't get hit by the spaceship's nudging. The Italian Space Agency supplied the LICIACube, a small craft that flew by the disaster site and took pictures.

"a watershed moment for planetary defense, and a watershed moment for humanity ... "

The ideal specimen for tracking the results of DART's hit was chosen by NASA. It has been looping around Didymos for a long time.

There are millions of space rocks. The majority of the asteroids are in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter.

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There are no known asteroids that are going to hit our planet. Around 15,000 asteroids larger than 500 feet are waiting to be discovered and scientists are keeping a close eye on them. Astronomers using powerful telescopes are finding around 500 new large space rocks near Earth each year.

Even small rocks can cause a lot of damage. The city of Kansas City would be destroyed if an asteroid hit it. An undetected meteorite exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February of last year, causing an airburst and shockwave that injured 1,600 people. NASA said the rock was 60 feet across.

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