NASA DART mission: American Space Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid on September 27. But why? Well, NASA through its DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission wanted to see the possibilities to stop a huge space rock from hitting the Earth (to avoid doomsday) and ascertain how difficult it can be to tackle such situation.
Well, NASA’s mission was successful and the space agency announced the same on social media. “IMPACT SUCCESS! Watch from #DARTMIssion’s DRACO Camera, as the vending machine-sized spacecraft successfully collides with asteroid Dimorphos, which is the size of a football stadium and poses no threat to Earth,” NASA wrote on Twitter while sharing the video of the impact.
What NASA Deputy Administrator said after the impact?
“NASA works for the benefit of humanity, so for us it’s the ultimate fulfillment of our mission to do something like this – a technology demonstration that, who knows, some day could save our home,” NASA Deputy Administrator Palm Melroy, a retired astronaut, said minutes after the impact.
Where it happened?
The demonstration happened approximately 11 million km away (7 million miles) on a target named Dimorphos. NASA had clarified that the asteroid was not on a path towards the Earth. It had also assured that the test will not accidentally send it in to our planet’s direction.
When it happened?
The impact took place 7.14 PM EDT on September 26 (4.44 AM IST on September 27). Telescopes, including the new super space observatory James Webb, watched the impact from afar.
Why NASA crashed a spacecraft into asteroid?
We have seen in Hollywood movies how brave astronauts with the help of nuclear weapons get rid of a killer asteroid. But what if it happens for real? So, NASA wanted to find the answer to this question by simply smashing a spacecraft into an asteroid.
The idea was only rock’s velocity would required to be changed by a small amount in order to alter its path, thus making it miss the Earth. However, it was needed to be done far enough in advance.
The DART mission’s aim was to check this theory with a head-on crash into 160m-wide Dimorphos at over 20,000km/h.
NASA livestreamed the event on NASA TV, the space agency’s app and its YouTube channel. It started the livestream from the spacecraft at 6 PM EDT on September 26 (3.30 AM IST on September 27.