NASA says the Dart mission managed to alter the asteroid’s trajectory in orbit

The spacecraft that NASA deliberately crashed into an asteroid last month past managed to move it out of its natural orbit, altering for the first time in history the movement of a celestial body, the head of the organization announced on Tuesday.

“This is a defining moment for planetary defense and a defining moment for humanity,” said the NASA chief, bill nelson, to journalists.

The results of the telescope observations revealed at a NASA briefing showed that the Dart spacecraft’s test flight on September 26 achieved its main goal: changing the direction of an asteroid through kinetic force.

The target of the Dart flight was an egg-shaped asteroid called Dimorphos, about the size of a football stadium, which orbited a five times larger parent asteroid called Didymos once every 11 hours and 55 minutes.

Comparison of pre- and post-impact astronomical measurements of Dimorphos’s orbit around Didymos showed a 32-minute shortening of its trajectory, demonstrating that the exercise is a viable technique for deflecting an asteroid from a collision course with Earth. Land.

Neither of the two asteroids involved in the test posed a threat to Earth, NASA scientists said.