(ORDO NEWS) — NASA chief Bill Nelson said the space agency’s mission to deorbit the car-sized asteroid Dimorph was a success.
The impact space probe Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) was able to change the flight path of a celestial body. This is the first time that humanity has succeeded in knocking an asteroid out of orbit.
The 633-kilogram DART impact probe was launched last November on SpaceX’s heavy Falcon 9 rocket.
On September 27 of this year, it finally crashed into the 160-meter-diameter Dimorph asteroid, located about 11 million kilometers from Earth.
The space accident, which occurred at a speed of 6.2 kilometers per second, was observed by the Italian cubesat LICIACube, which separated from DART five days before the collision.
Dimorph orbited another parent asteroid, Didyma. The orbital time around it was 11 hours 55 minutes.
After the collision, this period was reduced by 32 minutes, from which astronomers were able to conclude that the trajectory of the celestial body was deflected.
“Our result is an important step towards understanding how a probe collides with an asteroid,” said Lori Gleize, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.
As new data comes in every day, astronomers will be able to better assess whether and how exactly a mission like DART can be used in the future to help protect the Earth from an asteroid impact if we ever detect one heading our way. “.
The mission to change the orbit of an asteroid was the first in history and gives hope that humanity will be able to successfully shoot down space bodies that are potentially dangerous for the Earth.
Dimorph did not pose such a danger and served exclusively as a “training” object. NASA said they will continue to monitor the asteroid, monitor its orbit, and also intend to study the impact crater.
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