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NASA: The DART satellite successfully changed an asteroid’s course

NASA: The DART satellite successfully changed an asteroid’s course

  • NASA claims to have been successful in deflecting an asteroid.
  • It was to prevent an approaching cosmic object from wreaking havoc on Earth.
  • Dimorphos was intentionally hit by the refrigerator-sized DART.

In a historic test of humanity’s capacity to prevent an approaching cosmic object from wreaking havoc on Earth, NASA claims to have been successful in deflecting an asteroid.

According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, the asteroid Dimorphos was intentionally hit by the refrigerator-sized Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impactor on September 26. This caused it to enter a smaller, quicker orbit around its larger sibling Didymos.

The 11 hours, 55-minute orbit was reduced by DART to 11 hours, 23 minutes, he claimed. Dimorphos’ orbital period was accelerated by 32 minutes as opposed to the 10 minutes NASA had anticipated.

Nelson stated, “We demonstrated to the world that NASA is serious about protecting this planet.

Although the pair of asteroids, which cycle together around the sun every 2.1 years, pose no threat to Earth, they provided an excellent opportunity to test the “kinetic impact” strategy for planetary defence in the event that a genuine approaching object is ever discovered.

According to Yvette Cendes, an astronomer at Harvard University, “there is no risk in this situation because this was a purposefully picked target to make sure that this [asteroid crashing on Earth] would not happen.”

The success of DART as a proof-of-concept has turned science fiction into fact.

The magnificent photos of materials dispersing over thousands of kilometres in the aftermath of the hit delighted astronomers. The images were taken by satellites that had travelled to the region with DART as well as Earth and space telescopes.

I watched Armageddon, Deep Impact, and all of those movies growing up, so it’s wonderful to see this stuff actually happen, Cendes remarked.

Dimorphos, which has a diameter of 160 metres (530 feet) and is roughly the size of a large Egyptian pyramid, has changed into a man-made comet as a result of its temporary new tail.

However, it took a few weeks before it was clear how well the test had actually worked after an analysis of light patterns from ground telescopes.

Only one dot can be seen from Earth of the binary asteroid system, which was around 11 million kilometres (6.8 million miles) from Earth at the time of impact.

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