Last September, NASA succeeded in a very delicate mission launched a year earlier: that of Crashed into the asteroid Dimorphoslocated about 11 million kilometers from Earth with a probe deflect its trajectory.
A few days ago we were able to discover an impressive video taken by the Hubble Space Telescope showing the aftermath of the impact. And last Wednesday, NASA published one in a blog post first conclusion this experience, indicating that thekinetic effectwhich (roughly) consists of “hitting an object against another object”could represent one effective method of planetary defense.
Earth is safe, but…
This conclusion comes from the examination of data collected during the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission by the investigation team led by the Johns Hopkins Laboratory for Applied Physics (PLA). These proved that a kinetic impactor mission like DART can be effective change the trajectory of an asteroid. The data shows that the probe was sent by NASA in November 2021 and hit its target last 26.09made it possible to modify the orbit of the lunar asteroid Dimorphos 33 minuteswhich apparently was enough to throw it off course.
“These results add to our fundamental understanding of asteroids and lay the foundation for how humanity can defend Earth against a potentially dangerous asteroid by altering its trajectory.”called Nico Foxdeputy director of Science Missions Directorate at NASA Headquarters. Based on this data, it can now be said that it is possible to prevent future collisions with asteroids.
But there is a but! As the PLA authors point out in another article, this method works perfectly with Dimorphos-sized asteroids, without prior reconnaissance mission. It is not specified how it might behave with much larger asteroids. Besides, it would take time sufficient advance warning to prepare, “at least several years, but better decades”.