NASA’s space probe DART struck an asteroid Monday night in the first experiment meant to test whether asteroids could be deflected should one ever be on a collision course with Earth.
“It’s been a successful completion of the first part of the world’s first planetary defense test. And there were years of hard work, there was a lot of innovation and creativity that went into this mission. And I believe it’s going to teach us how one day to protect our own planet from an incoming asteroid,” said NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson.
DART’s target was an asteroid named Dimorphos which orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos. Dimorphos was chosen for this mission as it posed no threat to Earth, and also mimics how potentially threatening near-earth asteroids orbit around the sun.
The goal of this mission was not to destroy the asteroid, but rather to change the speed of it by a centimeter per second. With this successful mission, NASA was able to determine that it is possible to deflect an asteroid that may pose a threat to Earth.
“We are showing that planetary defense is a global endeavor, and it is very possible to save our planet,” said Nelson.