NASA’s Successful Test Gives Earth First-Ever Defensive Weapon Against Asteroids

The United State’s space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully completed the first phase of its first-ever Planetary Defense Test.

In the historical mission, NASA sent the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft to intentionally collide with the asteroid, Dimorphos, in November last year. The spacecraft successfully collided with the asteroid on Monday.

NASA revealed that the DART spacecraft hit Dimorphos at a speed of 23,500 kilometers per hour, while cheered on by the engineers and scientists watching from Earth through the spacecraft’s Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO).

The mission was launched to test the possibility of navigating a spacecraft to intentionally collide with an Earth-bound asteroid or comet to deflect its path.

According to NASA, conclusive results of the test will be available in a few weeks, if the aircraft has deflected the target asteroid’s path as expected, the Earth will have its first-ever defensive weapon against large asteroids or comets.

Although scientists have already identified asteroids that could destroy the planet, none of them seemingly pose any threat to it. Yet, they fear that the result of one of the smaller asteroids suddenly hurtling towards the Earth could be catastrophic.

Thus the success of the DART mission will provide the Earth with its first-ever planetary defense weapon against possible collisions. 

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