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Space & Astronomy

NASA confirms success of DART probe planetary defense test

By T.K. Randall
October 14, 2022 · Comment icon 48 comments

It worked! But does this mean that we are truly safe from asteroid strikes ? Image Credit: NASA
The space agency has confirmed that its recent mission successfully altered the trajectory of the target asteroid.
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.

Back in September, DART arrived at its destination and smashed headlong into the space rock at 14,000mph, leaving NASA scientists with the task of analyzing the scene to find out whether the impact had actually changed the trajectory of the asteroid as hoped.

Now, at last, the space agency has confirmed that, yes - the collision did in fact have the desired effect.

It's an important achievement, because it means that if we were looking down the barrel of an apocalyptic asteroid heading straight towards us, we might just be able to do something about it.
"This mission shows that NASA is trying to be ready for whatever the universe throws at us," said NASA's administrator Bill Nelson.

"I believe that NASA has proven that we are serious as a defender of the planet."

While the mission's success is certainly encouraging, it's important to remember that Dimorphos was very small and that changing the trajectory of a very large asteroid would be a lot more difficult.

It would also be necessary to detect the incoming space rock soon enough to allow for time to design and launch a mission to deflect it.

Even so, the DART mission is very much a step in the right direction.

Source: BBC News | Comments (48)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #39 Posted by Still Waters 12 months 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 12 months ago
That 'something' would be an asteroid.
Comment icon #41 Posted by Golden Duck 12 months ago
Not the Dart!† Why a Dart? Spoiler † †
Comment icon #42 Posted by psyche101 12 months ago
Bigger impact than a durrie?
Comment icon #43 Posted by Freez1 11 months ago
Ok well hereís 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 didnít have.
Comment icon #44 Posted by Freez1 11 months ago
When you screw with things you shouldnít in the solar system you change the path and trajectory of everything.
Comment icon #45 Posted by psyche101 11 months 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 11 months ago
Comment icon #47 Posted by Freez1 11 months 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 11 months 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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