NASA says the spacecraft that intentionally slammed into an asteroid successfully changed its course. As we told you before., the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, was the first attempt to change the direction of a celestial object to see if the method could be used to protect Earth from a future deadly collision.
How well did it work? Land-based telescopes have determined the impact of the DART spacecraft with asteroid Dimorphus changed its orbit around a larger asteroid by more than 30 minutes. A future mission will visit the double-asteroid system to further study the impact area.
“This result is one important step toward understanding the full effect of DART’s impact with its target asteroid” Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington says. “As new data come in each day, astronomers will be able to better assess whether, and how, a mission like DART could be used in the future to help protect Earth from a collision with an asteroid if we ever discover one headed our way.”