News"Earthlings should sleep better now": Nasa crashes probe into...

"Earthlings should sleep better now": Nasa crashes probe into asteroid – intentionally

Created: 09/27/2022, 12:07 p.m

Historic mission: For the first time, NASA intentionally caused a probe to impact an asteroid. Everything went according to plan.

Washington – Thousands of asteroids are roaming our solar system. A collision with Earth could have devastating consequences. In order to protect our planet from a catastrophe, the US space agency Nasa and the European Space Agency Esa are working intensively on asteroid defense. An important part of it: the so-called “Dart” mission (Dart stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test).

Ready for Hollywood: NASA probe in astroids

If a celestial body is on a collision course with the earth, it should be thrown off course. What sounds like a plot for a Hollywood blockbuster has succeeded for the first time with Nasa. A $300 million spacecraft collided head-on with an asteroid the size of a football stadium on Monday.

The spacecraft collided with the asteroid at 7:14 p.m. EDT at 15,000 mph. A live-streamed video showed the asteroid’s debris-strewn surface coming into focus before the spacecraft impacted and cheers erupted in the mission’s control room. Teams of scientists from NASA and Johns Hopkins University hugged. The “Dart” mission was a success – there was an impact on the asteroid Dimorphos.

«Dart»-Mission: Nasa crasht Sonde in Asteroiden. Raumschiff kollidiert um 19.34 Uhr EDT mit 24.000 km/h mit dem Asteroiden.
NASA crashes probe into asteroid. Spacecraft collides with asteroid at 7:34 p.m. EDT at 15,000 mph. © Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP

Protection against doomsday scenario: Nasa probe crashes into an asteroid

However, it will only be seen in two months whether the impact of the spaceship actually throws the asteroid out of its trajectory. According to NASA, the probe landed 17 meters from its intended target and was therefore close enough to be successful. “It was basically a hit. I think as far as we can tell the first planetary defenses test was a success and we can clap for that,” Dart deputy program manager Elena Adams said at a news conference.

Eine undatierte Aufnahme zeigt, wie eine Nasa-Sonde direkt und absichtlich in einen Asteroiden krachen und dadurch dessen Flugbahn verändern.
An undated image shows a NASA probe crashing directly and intentionally into an asteroid, thereby changing its trajectory. © Steve Gribben/NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

It is initially unclear whether the impact had enough force. The evaluation of the data and calculations will show that in the coming weeks. “Earthlings should sleep better, and I definitely will.”

The space researchers will then have to work through the asteroid collision that was brought about for a long time: they are investigating what exactly happened during the impact and what that means for the protection of our planet. In 2024, the Esa mission “Hera” will start into space for a more precise determination.

Recently, the research vehicle “Perseverance” detected remnants of life on Mars. NASA is over the moon. NASA’s moon mission, on the other hand, is overshadowed by problems. (ml)

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