U.S. probe DART successfully altered the trajectory of an asteroid

U.S. probe DART successfully altered the trajectory of an asteroid

The U.S. probe DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) has successfully completed its mission to change the trajectory of the asteroid Dimorph in an experiment to protect the Earth from potentially dangerous space objects. Bill Nelson, head of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), announced

“NASA confirmed today that DART successfully altered the trajectory of the asteroid,” he said at a news conference broadcast on the administration’s website.

Nelson added that, according to telescope data from Earth, the orbital spiral of Dimorph, which orbits around the larger asteroid Didim, has shortened by 32 minutes, and its position relative to Didim has also changed. “This is a watershed moment for planetary defense and for humanity,” he summarized.

DART was launched in November 2021 from U.S. Space Force Base Vandenberg in California using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle. In late September, NASA reported that the vehicle collided with the asteroid Dimorph.

NASA created the Office of Asteroid Coordination to protect Earth from asteroids in 2016. This program searches for asteroids and comets in near-Earth space within 48 million km of the planet that could threaten it, collecting data on their sizes, orbits and chemical composition, as well as analyzing the possible consequences of their impact.