#ICYMI — NASA just smashed a rocket into an asteroid

Published 2022-10-12 15:39
UPDATE:On Oct. 11, NASA confirmed that their test was successful — DART had shifted the Dimorphos asteroid’s orbit. This story was originally published on Sept. 27.

The asteroid wasn't a threat to Earth

In case you missed it, NASA tried to change the position of an object in space for the first time in history.

On Sept. 26, a vending-machine sized spaceship, called Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), slammed into an asteroid 11.3 million kilometers away,

DART was launched into space in November 2021 — meaning it took 10 months for it to hit its target.

The spacecraft slammed into the 160-metre asteroid named Dimorphos, at 22,500 km/h.

Dimorphos wasn’t a threat to Earth. The mission was a test to see if humans could successfully alter the path of an object that could one day threaten to hit Earth.

The goal was to alter its orbit, not blow the object up to smithereens.

Planetary defence experts prefer nudging a threatening asteroid or comet out of the way rather than blowing it up and creating multiple pieces that could rain down on Earth.

Though the impact was immediately obvious — DART's radio signal abruptly ceased — it will be days or even weeks before we know how much the asteroid's path was changed.

The mission cost $325 million US, but the payoff could be saving the entire human race one day.

Money well spent? You decide!

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With files from The Associated Press, CBC News