NASA Successfully Collides DART Spacecraft with Asteroid
Good news! NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) has successfully collided with it's intended target on Monday night. Why would NASA crash an expensive spacecraft into an asteroid you ask? To see if they could of course, and also because the future of the planet may rely on the advancement of such tests. Initially launched in November of 2021, DART's mission was to act as a proof-of-concept for a satellite planetary defense system. The target was an asteroid named Dimorphos - 6.8 million miles away - and with a diameter of 560 feet.
The intention of the collision, done at approximately 14,000 MPH by the DART craft, was to drastically alter the flight trajectory and orbit of Dimorphos around its larger parent asteroid. The DART team will be analyzing the impact crater, resulting debris, and the changes in the flight path of the asteroid to determine how successful this initial test was. The underlying results will shape the future response to any dangerous near Earth objects, and may give us a chance to defend ourselves.