NASA Just Altered An Asteroid’s Orbit

When the time comes when we are alerted of an asteroid approaching our planet, what can we do to defend Earth? Is it possible to alter the course of that celestial body? It may very well be possible, it turns out.

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NASA has been thinking of methods to defend against near-Earth objects (NEOs) for a long time. Recently, the agency sent one of its missions to space. The mission, called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), had a straightforward objective: to crash into Dimorphos (the minor-planet moon of the asteroid Didymos) in hopes of altering its course.

On September 27, 2022, the DART spacecraft successfully collided with Dimorphos. The spacecraft wasn’t even able to send its last photo completely back to NASA. But did the attempt work? Yes, it did. It was a smashing success.

A few days ago, on October 11, NASA announced that they were able to shorten the orbit of the Dimorphos asteroid by 32 minutes, which surpassed NASA’s humble goal of only 72 seconds.

Should an asteroid be reported to be approaching Earth, humanity may have a chance of deflecting it.

(Image Credit: NASA/ Johns Hopkins APL)

Source: neatorama

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