NASA spacecraft successfully crashes into distant asteroid in first planetary defense test

A cosmic collision observed around the world”, writes Denise Show on the website of the television channel nbc news to describe what happened on Tuesday, September 27 at 1:14 am (Paris time), 11 million kilometers from Earth. A small NASA spacecraft intentionally crashed into an asteroid to test “humanity’s ability to protect the Earth from a potentially catastrophic impact” for this purpose, continues the scientific journalist.

Called Dart -an acronym for Double Asteroid Redirection Test and a word that means “arrow” in English-, launched in November 2021, the probe “the size of a vending machinecrashed gloriously, at the speed of 22,000 km/h, on the surface”lumpy and gray” by Dimorfos, details the american monthly the atlantic.

It is a small asteroid 163 meters in diameter (about half the size of the Eiffel Tower) orbiting a second, slightly larger asteroid, Didymos. “A landscape so rich in texture that you could almost feel the sheer rock against your fingertips.” at the moment of impact, describes Marina Koren of the atlantic, who watched the last hour and a half of Dart’s life on the American space agency’s live broadcast. “And then nothing. The spacecraft crashed into the asteroid, its sophisticated cameras and all the rest of its delicate machinery shattered.

The goal ? It deflects the star’s trajectory a bit.

defend the planet

Dimorphos evolves too far from Earth to pose any danger.but the experiment is designed to test whether such an impact [avec une sonde] could make a difference if scientists discover an asteroid that poses an imminent threat” for us, explains technology information site the edge. A scenario similar toArmageddon by Michael Bay (1998) or the most recent don’t look up by Adam McKay (2021), definitely.

At first glance, the quest might seem a bit silly (sorry, POT) ”, jokes Rae Paoletta in a gallery in the Washington Post. “Sounds like something Nathan Fielder might suggest in an episode of Nathan for you”, he continues, referring to a parody TV series in which a fake consultant gives nonsensical advice to companies. “Plan ? Save the planet from a dangerous asteroid by hitting it with a multi-million dollar spaceship.

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