It's more like a Hollywood script: A rogue asteroid hurtling towards earth threatening to wipe out the life from the planet and humanity has one shot to save all. So the world sends a team of brave heroes to pilot a spacecraft into the space and destroy the incoming mass projectile.
But wait a second; this is not a movie plot, NASA's test for Armageddon. Yes the American space agency on Monday showed what the reality would be like.
In a historic move, NASA slammed a spacecraft into an asteroid target in a first-ever attempt to move an asteroid in space, a demonstration of planetary defence exercise.
The space agency's spacecraft launched in November last year kept pursuing the target, a space rock, Dimorphos, seven million miles from earth and hit it successfully.
NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test, as it is called targeted the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos, a small body just 530 feet (160 meters) in diameter but posed no threat to earth.
The mission control at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland, announced the successful impact.
DART’s impact with the asteroid Dimorphos demonstrates a viable mitigation technique for protecting the planet from an Earth-bound asteroid or comet, if one were discovered, NASA said in its statement after the collision.
Did you catch the #DARTMission stream live or Didymos it? Impact is over, but the research continues. As scientists delve into data and telescopes release images of the asteroid from their POV, follow @AsteroidWatch and @NASASolarSystem for updates. https://t.co/ZNEYDQVA8Y pic.twitter.com/dn2veS6zbG— NASA (@NASA) September 27, 2022
NASA has said that its investigation team will now observe Dimorphos using ground-based telescopes to confirm that DART’s impact altered the asteroid’s orbit.