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Space & Astronomy

NASA successfully smashes space probe into an asteroid

By T.K. Randall
September 27, 2022 · Comment icon 48 comments

A mission like this could one day save the world. Image Credit: NASA
The camera feed from the probe showed its last moments as it careened into the asteroid Dimorphos.
Launched back in November 2021, DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) was designed to test if it is possible to deflect a dangerous incoming asteroid by deliberately flying a spacecraft straight into it.

For the mission, scientists chose to send the probe to collide with Dimorphos - a moon of the asteroid Didymos - which measures around 160 meters across and poses no actual threat to the Earth.

After spending months flying through space, DART made its final approach a few hours ago, recording a series of images as it got closer and closer to its target at a speed of 22,000km/h.
Controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory waited with baited breath as they watched the final few images which showed the surface of Dimorphos getting closer and closer until the probe smashed headlong into the space rock, abruptly ending the signal.

While it is likely to be some time before NASA will be able to confirm exactly what effect the collision has had on the trajectory of Dimorphos, the mission has been hailed as a complete success and a demonstration that it is very possible indeed to smash a spacecraft into an asteroid.

If Dimorphos had in fact been a dangerous asteroid on a collision course with the Earth, this mission - or one very much like it - might have literally prevented the destruction of our civilization.

Source: BBC News | Comments (48)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #39 Posted by Still Waters 1 year ago
A new image shows that an asteroid which was deliberately struck by Nasa's Dart probe has left a trail of debris stretching thousands of kilometres. A telescope in Chile captured the remarkable picture of a comet-like plume spreading behind the giant rock. The probe was crashed last week to test whether asteroids that might threaten Earth can be nudged out of the way. Scientists are working to establish whether the test was a success, and the asteroid's trajectory altered. The extraordinary image was taken two days after the collision by astronomers in Chile, who were able to capture the vast ... [More]
Comment icon #40 Posted by zep73 1 year ago
That 'something' would be an asteroid.
Comment icon #41 Posted by Golden Duck 1 year ago
Not the Dart!  Why a Dart? Spoiler    
Comment icon #42 Posted by psyche101 1 year ago
Bigger impact than a durrie?
Comment icon #43 Posted by Freez1 1 year ago
Ok well here’s my 2 cents worth on this. If we absolutely had something heading our direction then sure blast it. But just playing target practice on objects that have been traveling the same sequence and direction for billions of years is foolish. Space is functioning like a clock they just busted a gear. Now something is going to bump something else and in due time they just caused a problem we didn’t have.
Comment icon #44 Posted by Freez1 1 year ago
When you screw with things you shouldn’t in the solar system you change the path and trajectory of everything.
Comment icon #45 Posted by psyche101 1 year ago
You don't actually think this never occurred to NASA and you're the only one clever enough to realise that a deflection could have other consequences???  I'd say we're good.  We had to know if we can do this. It was necessary.  Now we know we can. 
Comment icon #46 Posted by joc 1 year ago
Comment icon #47 Posted by Freez1 1 year ago
No but as this is a open forum where people voice their opinions on subjects of interest I figured I would cast my own. But like always I have a way of stumbling across some smart ass. Thanks for sticking out and reminding us all you are always lurking in the shadows.
Comment icon #48 Posted by psyche101 1 year ago
Smart ass hey. NASA has sent five probes outside the solar system. The new horizons project sent a craft hurtling at 36,400 mph over nine years using gravity assist to manoeuvre a craft the size of a grand piano 1.4 million miles from the surface offering unprecedented clarity of a distant solar object.  And next to that we have your opinion.  Thanks for reminding us deliberate ignorance is in your shadow in abundance. 

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