NASA’s dress rehearsal to change an asteroid’s orbit has been hailed a success after a small spacecraft hit its target, nearly 10 million kilometres from Earth.
‘We have impact’: NASA spacecraft crashes into asteroid in defense test
A NASA spacecraft has rammed an asteroid at blistering speed in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
The galactic slam occurred at a harmless asteroid 11.3 million kilometers away, with the spacecraft named Dart plowing into the space rock at 22,500 kph. Scientists expected the impact to carve out a crater, hurl streams of rocks and dirt into space and, most importantly, alter the asteroid’s orbit.
“We have impact!” Mission Control’s Elena Adams announced, jumping up and down and thrusting her arms skyward.
Telescopes around the world and in space aimed at the same point in the sky to capture the spectacle. Though the impact was immediately obvious — Dart’s radio signal abruptly ceased — it will take as long as a couple of months to determine how much the asteroid’s path was changed.