On Monday night, a NASA spacecraft deliberately collided with an asteroid to divert it from its trajectory, an unprecedented test to find mechanisms to defend the Earth from a devastating collision of a cosmic object.
Although the impact was immediately obvious, Dart’s radio signal abruptly cut off, producing a few tense moments. Telescopes from around the world and in space focused on the same point in the sky to capture the spectacle.
NASA teams, gathered in mission control in Maryland, burst with happiness at the spectacular images of the asteroid approaching until shortly before the imminent collision. The ship ended up crashing at more than 20,000 kilometers per hour against its target.
The DART mission, named after the historic event, ended minutes after 8:00 p.m. (Argentina time) and was also celebrated on social networks.
NASA maintained on Twitter, “Successful impact! The vending machine-sized spacecraft successfully collides with the football stadium-sized asteroid Dimorphos and diverts its course to prevent it from becoming a potential threat to Earth.”
He then shared the exact moment the spacecraft collided with the rocky celestial body, summed up in a 30-second video.
The objective of the assignment was to reduce the orbit of Dimorphos – which is a satellite of the immense asteroid Didymos – in about ten minutes. The $325 million mission is the first attempt to reposition an asteroid or any other natural object in space.
According to specialists, the test was crucial for the future, since it was about better understanding how Dimorphos, representative of a population of fairly common asteroids, whose exact composition is not known, will react.
However, very few of the known asteroids are considered potentially dangerous, and none will be in the next 100 years, but warned the chief scientist of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Thomas Zurbuchen, “I assure you that, if you wait enough, there will be one.”
Scientists affirm that these rocky celestial bodies of a kilometer or more have already been sighted for the most part, but they estimate that they only know about 40% of the asteroids that measure 140 meters or more, capable of devastating an entire region.
Asteroids of a kilometer or more have been sighted almost all, say scientists; but they estimate that they only know about 40% of the asteroids that measure 140 meters or more, capable of devastating an entire region in the event of an impact.
In November the probe that did the job was launched and navigated to its target using new technology developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the spacecraft’s builder and mission manager. Posted by Iraic.info, a news and information agency.