NASA’s DART spacecraft successfully impacts with asteroid


DART collided with Dimorphos at a whopping 14,760 mph.

On September 26th at 7:14pm, NASA’s spacecraft named DART has ended its nearly one year journey by slamming into an asteroid, in hope of testing the new defense system of moving the celestial body.

DART stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. It was built and its point was to hit the asteroid Dimorphos.

DART was built by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. Its adventure into space began on November 24th in 2021 when it hitched a ride from the rocket by SpaceX which is called Falcon 9. It took off at the Space Launch Complex 4 at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

There, it began its 6.8 million mile long journey to its target. Now NASA had to wait ten months until its impact.

Dimorphos, the target of DART, is an asteroid that orbits its parent asteroid Didymos located between Mars and Jupiter in the asteroid belt. Its size is around 160 meters, which is roughly the size of the colosseum in Rome.

Now, NASA’s wait is over. When NASA began its broadcast from the spacecraft, for a while only a small white dot of the asteroid could be seen in the distance. But as the minutes went by, it began to become closer and more clear.

At 7:12pm, the time arrived for the impact to occur. All of the scientists had their eyes glued to the spacecraft. The asteroid came into view.

Then, you can see it closer, and closer, and closer. The final frames show the surface of the rocky terrain, and the screen flashes red. Success.

NASA celebrates the collision, for all their hard work is now over.

The reason they sent it at the asteroid is to try something that has never been done before- moving an asteroid. NASA has been wanting to test a defense system against celestial bodies, in case one day one threatens our home. They are looking to see if they can change the orbit around the parent asteroid. Dimorphos posed no threat to us, and it is deep in the asteroid belt; they only impacted it to test the system.

If the orbit is successfully changed, then this is a huge step for humanity and planetary defense. It sounds like science fiction, but NASA is making it reality everyday.