On Monday night, a NASA spacecraft collided with an asteroid while moving at 14,000 miles per hour. However, the collision was planned by NASA, who wanted to change the rock’s course in space.
Although there is no threat to Earth from the asteroid, researchers wanted to see if this strategy would work in the event that an impact was to occur in the future.
At 7:14 p.m., the agency’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft collided with the asteroid Dimorphos. Dimorphos was 6.8 million kilometers from Earth at the time of the impact. As photos from the spacecraft showing its approach to and impact with Dimorphos were relayed back to Earth, NASA scientists cheered. The chairman of the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, Representative Don Beyer of Virginia, stated that the mission was “a historic success… and a very critical step forward for planetary security.” Since the start of its 10-month voyage to Dimorphos on November 24, 2021, the DART spacecraft has been speeding toward its destination. The asteroid has a diameter of roughly 500 feet. The asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs, in contrast, was 6.2 miles broad.