On purpose, NASA destroyed the $344 million Dart spacecraft on an asteroid.

On purpose, NASA destroyed its $344 million Dart spacecraft on an asteroid. The collision aims to provide Earth with a defence mechanism against approaching asteroids in the future.

A $344 million spacecraft is likely to come to an Armageddon-inspired end, nearly 10 months after it departed Earth. In order to test a novel defence device, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission purposefully collided with an asteroid.

For the purpose of testing a kinetic impactor technology that might one day be employed to protect Earth from an impending asteroid, NASA is smashing the probe into the binary asteroid system Didymos. At a speed of 24,000 kilometres per hour, the spacecraft collided with the moonlet Deimorpos of the Didymos asteroid system, slightly altering its orbit.

This will show that, if a killer asteroid ever comes our way, we would have a fighting chance of deflecting it. The collision should be just enough to move the asteroid into a slightly tighter orbit around its companion space rock.

As the spacecraft is being tracked, cameras and telescopes like the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope are keeping a watch on the asteroid to witness the impact.

Dimorphos, which is located 9.6 million kilometres from Earth, is actually the companion of Didymos, which is Greek for “twin,” a 2,500-foot asteroid. Didymos, which was found in 1996, spins so quickly that astronomers think it threw off debris that finally created a moonlet. Dimorphos, which measures about 525 feet across, travels 1.2 kilometres around its parent body.

The Dart probe only has one tool, a camera that is used for navigation, targeting, and documenting the outcome. Dimorphos will appear as a point of light an hour before impact, looming larger and larger in the camera footage broadcast back to Earth. It is thought to be just a pile of wreckage.

Even while the strike should be immediately noticeable, it can take a few weeks or longer to confirm the moonlet’s modified orbit.

According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, “there was a lot of invention and creativity that went into this mission, and I believe it’s going to teach us how to safeguard our own planet from an impending asteroid in the future.”We are demonstrating that planetary defence is an international effort and that saving the world is highly likely.

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