The DART ship rehearsed to save the Earth

The DART ship rehearsed to save the Earth

According to the head of NASA, Bill Nelson, a refrigerator-sized implant designed to test the diversion of a double asteroid, successfully crashed into the moon asteroid Dimorphos on September 26, and pushed it into a smaller and faster orbit around its older brother, Didimos.

"DART reduced orbit from 11.55 minutes to 11.23 minutes," he said. The acceleration of the orbital period of Dimorphos exceeded NASA's expectations of 10 minutes by 32 minutes. "We showed the world that NASA was serious about protecting this planet," Nelson added.

"We are all responsible for our home planet, after all this is the only thing we have," the NASA administrator concluded. "The experiment showed that NASA is trying to be prepared for everything that the universe throws at us. This is a turning point for planetary protection and for all mankind."

Before the crash, NASA defined the minimum successful change in the Dymorphos conversion period as a change of 73 seconds or more. Early data indicate that DART exceeded this minimum target by more than 25 times.

The research team is still collecting data from ground-based monitors around the world, as well as from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and the Green Bank Observatory of the National Science Foundation in West Virginia.

A pair of asteroids orbit the sun every 2.1 years and pose no threat to the Earth, but they are ideal for studying planetary defense using a "kinetic shock" in case the Earth is threatened by a real space object.

The success of DART as evidence of the concept has made science fiction a reality. Examples can be found in films such as "Armageddon" and "Don't Look Up."