NASA Spacecraft Hitting Asteroid to Change Its Trajectory Leads to Millions of Pounds of Rock Shattered Into Space

NASA Spacecraft Hitting Asteroid to Change Its Trajectory Leads to Millions of Pounds of Rock Shattered Into Space

NASA was proud to announce a few weeks ago that its plan to change the trajectory of an asteroid in space has been successful. The DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission proved that humanity has a chance to defend itself in the face of a huge asteroid that could threaten our existence as a species one day.

Even though DART managed to change the trajectory of the small Dimorphos asteroid through space by simply smashing into it, millions of pounds of rock were shattered as a result of the collision.

Andy Cheng, the investigation team lead of DART, stated, as Daily Mail quotes:

Momentum transfer is one of the most important things we can measure because it is the information we would need to develop an impactor mission to divert a threatening asteroid,

Understanding how a spacecraft impact will change an asteroid’s momentum is key to designing a mitigation strategy for a planetary defense scenario.

Surprisingly or not, studying the asteroid Dimorphos is one thing that astronomers are considering doing. 

Here’s what Andy Rivkin, who is the DART investigation team co-lead from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL), has to say as the same source quotes:

We know the initial experiment worked. Now we can start to apply this knowledge.

Studying the ejecta made in the kinetic impact – all of it derived from Dimorphos – is a key way of gaining further insights into the nature of its surface.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, a famous American astrophysicist, also shared his thoughts on the DART mission of NASA. He even said that moving an asteroid out of the way by nudging it remains a much better idea than simply blowing it up using nukes, for instance. 

NASA even provided live footage for those willing to watch the redirection test of the asteroid.



Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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