It appears we won’t be going out like the dinosaurs, as NASA sent a spacecraft out to intercept a massive asteroid called Dimorphos 6.8 million miles from Earth to test our capability at blocking future interstellar threats.
The mission – known as DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) – was humanity’s first attempt at moving another space celestial body. The project hopes to expand our defense against asteroids and other bodies that may threaten to impact Earth in the future.
“At its core, DART represents an unprecedented success for planetary defense, but it is also a mission of unity with a real benefit for all humanity,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “As NASA studies the cosmos and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this international collaboration turned science fiction into science fact, demonstrating one way to protect Earth.”
The program represents a step forward into a new era.
“[It’s] an era in which we potentially have the capability to protect ourselves from something like a dangerous, hazardous asteroid impact,” said Lori Glaze, Nasa’s planetary science division director. “What an amazing thing. We’ve never had that capability before.”
The project also serves as a symbol that can potentially unify people across the globe.
The asteroid impact was the first stage of the project and in about two months researchers will know if the attempt at moving the asteroid was a success.
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