A NASA spacecraft succeeded in nudging the Dimorphos asteroid out of its natural orbit, scientists say.
DART ‘succeeded in altering asteroid path’ – NASA
The spacecraft that NASA deliberately crashed into an asteroid last month succeeded in nudging the rocky moonlet out of its natural orbit – the first time humanity has altered the motion of a celestial body, NASA’s chief says.
“This is a watershed moment for planetary defence and a watershed moment for humanity,” NASA chief Bill Nelson told reporters in announcing the results on Tuesday.
Findings of telescope observations unveiled at a NASA news briefing showed that the kamikaze test flight of the DART spacecraft on September 26 achieved its primary objective: changing the direction of an asteroid through sheer kinetic force.
The $US330 million proof-of-concept DART mission, which was seven years in development, also marked the world’s first test of a planetary defence system designed to prevent a potential doomsday meteorite collision with earth.