US space agency NASA has announced that the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) was able to successfully alter the orbit of the asteroid Dimorphous.
This success marks an important milestone for the defence of the planet from any future asteroids that may head towards Earth.
After two weeks of data collection and analysis, the researchers at NASA concluded that their experiment of purposely hitting the asteroid, shortened its course around its parent, Didymos, by 32 minutes.
Before the experiment took place in September, researchers at the Space Agency had estimated that a minimum orbital change of 73 seconds would have called the test a success.
During a press conference, Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, said, “If an Earth-threatening asteroid was discovered, and we could see it far enough away, this technique could be used to deflect it. NASA has proven we are serious as a defender of the planet. This is a watershed moment for planetary defence and all of humanity, demonstrating commitment from NASA’s exceptional team and partners from around the world.”