Caught On Camera: Final Moments From NASA Mission As Spacecraft Rams Into Asteroid

NASA launched its DART spacecraft in November 2021 with the express purpose of colliding with an asteroid.

Caught On Camera: Final Moments From NASA Mission As Spacecraft Rams Into Asteroid

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impactor hit its target

On Monday, a NASA Spacecraft successfully crashed into an asteroid approximately 7 million miles (10.9 million kilometres) from Earth. The mission aimed to deflect the asteroid's orbit,  was successfully achieved in a historic test of humanity's ability to prevent a celestial object from devastating life on Earth.

NASA launched its DART spacecraft in November 2021 with the express purpose of colliding with an asteroid about the size of a football stadium at 14,000 miles per hour. "In case you're keeping score: humanity 1, asteroids 0," Tahira Allen, a NASA spokesperson, said during the live stream after the impact.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impactor hit its target, the space rock Dimorphos, at 7:14 pm Eastern Time (2314 GMT), 10 months after blasting off from California on its pioneering mission.

DART's Final Images Prior to Impact

"We're embarking on a new era, an era in which we potentially have the capability to protect ourselves from something like a dangerous hazardous asteroid impact," said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's planetary science division.

Dimorphos -- a 530-foot (160-metre) asteroid roughly comparable in size to an Egyptian pyramid -- orbits a half-mile-long big brother called Didymos. Never seen before, the "moonlet" appeared as a speck of light around an hour before the collision, reported AFP. 

Its egg-like shape and craggy, boulder-dotted surface finally came into clear view in the last few minutes, as DART raced toward it at roughly 14,500 miles (23,500 kilometres) per hour.

NASA scientists and engineers erupted in applause as the screen froze on a final image, indicating that signal had been lost and impact had taken place.
 

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