NASA confirmed that it had the spacecraft on October 11 Historically crashed into an asteroid The latter actually managed to change course in a suicide mission a few days ago. The mission was designed to test whether humanity would hold its own against a celestial body that would someday hurtle toward our planet. NASA chief Bill Nelson said the vending machine-sized Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) crashed into a 160-meter dimorphic asteroid on Sept. 26 and sent it into a smaller but faster orbit around its 780-meter larger sibling, Didymus.
Before DART’s impact, Dimorphous took 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit Didymos. After the event, astronomers used telescopes on Earth to closely observe the meteorite to measure how much its orbital period had changed. Inquiry staff Confirmed That impact changed the dimorphic orbit around its big brother by 32 minutes, reducing the orbital period from 11 hours 55 minutes to 11 hours 23 minutes.
Initially, NASA estimated that Dimorphos’ orbit change would take at least 73 seconds and more. However, according to this initial report, DART’s impact on the asteroid exceeded NASA’s minimum estimates by 25 times. The space agency has yet to comment on what impact, if any, the debris will have on Earth.
Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said: “This result is an important step toward understanding the full impact of DART’s impact with its target asteroid.”
Furthermore, the director says: With new data coming in every day, astronomers can figure out how a mission like DART can and should be used. They believe this could help future missions to protect Earth from collision if we were ever hit by an asteroid headed our way.
This asteroid duo orbits the Sun once every 2.1 years and currently poses no threat to our planet. The probe team still collects data from their observatories and updates the measurement frequently to improve its accuracy.