Update – NASA’s DART Mission Successfully Redirects Asteroid
Good news! After successfully colliding the DART spacecraft with asteroid Dimorphos, NASA has confirmed that the collision successfully altered the orbit of the asteroid as intended. The intention was to move the asteroid closer to its partner-asteroid Didymos, and the goal was to reduce the orbit around Didymos by 10-15 minutes. The results have shown that the experiment actually reduced the orbit by a full 32 minutes, smashing (pun intended) the original milestone for the mission.
This is the first NASA mission and proof-of-concept for an actual planetary defense for threatening asteroid or comets. There is still a long way to go before we are able to respond to and redirect threatening asteroids on their way to Earth, but at least we know we have altered their paths already.
Source: Scientific America
Source: Scientific Amer