The NASA Dart Mission Was a Huge Success!
After 10 months of flying through space, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) has impacted with asteroid Dimorphos.
NASA mission control at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, announced the successful impact at 7:14 p.m. In the video clip, you can see the final five-and-a-half minutes or so of images leading up to the DART spacecraft’s successful collision with asteroid Dimorphos. The DART spacecraft streamed these images from its onboard DRACO camera back to Earth in real time as it approached the asteroid for impact. This is the first POV of a robot crashing into a giant space rock ever shot by a human camera!
This NASA clip is actually 10 times faster than reality, except for the last six images, which are shown at the same rate that the spacecraft sent them to Earth. Didymos and its moonlet Dimorphos are both visible at the start of the clip. In the end, Dimorphos fills the camera’s entire field of view. The final image of the impact zone in the clip shows a patch of Dimorphos that is 51 feet 16 meters across. DART’s impact occurred during the transmission of the final image to Earth, resulting in a partial picture at the end of the mission.
The NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is the first of its kind and marks a milestone for humanity. Now for the first time ever in the history of our species, we have a tested planetary defense system. Just in case an asteroid is discovered to be heading toward our planet in the future. Some may say that being hit by an asteroid is highly unlikely and I would agree. But, I would also remind you that the dinosaurs probably thought the exact same thing before they got hit with one. If the dinosaurs had DART technology, who knows? They could still be alive today! That’s how powerful this technology is, it could literally prevent a mass extinction event someday.