The demise of a spaceship is a rather sad event. NASA celebrated one's destruction.

The final stage of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test was executed by NASA on September 26th. There was a successful collision and now there is more reason to celebrate. The DART mission was declared a success by NASA in a press conference this morning.

DART was crashed into Dimorphos in order to change its path. It could be possible to protect Earth from an asteroid. Dimorphos and Didymos are not threats to our planet.

DART had to change Dimorphos' nearly 12-hour period around Didymos by at least 73 seconds. The benchmark for success was 25 times longer than the 32 minute change in Dimorphos.

The director of NASA's Planetary Science Division said that the result is an important step towards understanding the full effect of DART's impact. If we ever discover one headed our way, DART could be used to protect Earth from a collision with an asteroid.

The DART team will continue to observe Dimorphos, gathering data from ground-based observatories, the Italian Space Agency's LICIA satellite, and the European Space Agency's Hera mission. The debris from the impact is shown in the image at the top.

DART gave NASA some interesting data about asteroid properties and the effectiveness of impactors as a planetary defense technology, according to Nancy Chabot, the DART coordination lead from the Applied Physics Laboratory. The DART team is studying the data to understand the first planetary defense test of asteroids.

We probably won't need to send Bruce Willis into space to protect us, at least according to DART, which has shown that an autonomously-piloted vehicle can do the job.