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Confirmed: the DART mission manages to divert Dimorphos from its orbit

After two weeks of observations of the Didymos/Dimorphos system , NASA scientists have confirmed that NASA’s DART mission has substantially changed Dimorphos’s orbit . The mission has been a complete success , representing the first time that humans have changed the motion of a natural object in space and altered its orbit forever.

a good push

The planetary defense test, conducted on September 26, was aimed at seeing if we could push the path of a massive asteroid headed straight for our planet.

And it seems that we have taken the first step so that, in the event that we are in the position of having to divert a threat to our planet, crashing a spacecraft into a space rock seems to be all we need to do.

Following the historic impact, Dimorphos now orbits Didymos in 11 hours and 23 minutes. Initially, when NASA set up the DART mission, the asteroid Dimorphos took 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit its larger companion. We have reduced that time considerably.

This successful mission marks “the first time humanity has deliberately changed the motion of a celestial object and the first large-scale demonstration of asteroid deflection technology,” NASA shared in this week’s announcement.

kinetic impact

As the spacecraft propelled autonomously for the last four hours of the mission as a self-guided missile, its imager began transmitting the first images of Dimorphos, before crashing to its surface.

“This result is an important step toward understanding the full effect of DART’s impact on its target asteroid,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “As new data comes in every day, astronomers will be able to better assess if, and how, a mission like DART could be used in the future to help protect Earth from a collision with an asteroid if we ever discover one in our path. ”

Referencia: NASA Confirms DART Mission Impact Changed Asteroid’s Motion in Space NASA PRESS RELEASE 2022

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