According to the latest report, the DART spacecraft launched by NASA crossed the solar system at hypersonic speed and collided with a distant asteroid. It’s testing the world’s first planetary defense system designed to prevent potential doomsday meteorites from colliding with Earth.
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When DART hit the asteroid, the screen of the live broadcast gradually darkened, so we couldn’t see how much the asteroid was dented by the DART impact. Fortunately, many telescopes around the world are tracking the asteroid that DART hit, and the ATLAS project, using four telescopes around the world, captured a video of the moment of the impact, which occurred about 7 million miles from Earth.
ATLAS, or Asteroid Terrestrial Impact Last Alert System, is a collaboration between NASA and the University of Hawaii to detect all asteroids, including those that could pose a threat to Earth, scanning the sky multiple times a night for moving objects.
The ATLAS telescope took aim at the asteroids Didymos and Dimorphos during Monday’s impact by the DART probe, which slammed into the smaller of the two asteroids at more than 14,000 miles per hour. Dimorphos, an asteroid about the size of the Colosseum orbiting Didymos. It can be seen that the moment of impact emits a dazzling light.
Moreover, it is still unknown whether DART successfully completed the scheduled impact mission, and further ground observations of the asteroid will have results next month. But NASA officials were pleased with the results of Monday’s experiment, saying the spacecraft appeared to be operating as designed.