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NASA Crashes Spacecraft into Asteroid in First-Ever Planetary Defense Test

HeadlineSep 27, 2022

In more space news, NASA has successfully crashed a robotic spacecraft into an asteroid, in a first-of-its-kind test of technology that could one day, perhaps, prevent a comet or asteroid from hitting the Earth. Mission engineers at the Applied Physics Laboratory erupted in cheers Monday as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft, or DART, live-streamed its final moments plunging toward the asteroid Dimorphos at 14,000 miles per hour.

Lori Glaze: “Oh wow!”

Samson Reiny: “Awaiting visual confirmation.”

Lori Glaze: “All right! We got it?”

Samson Reiny: “Waiting.”

Lori Glaze: “Waiting. Come on.”

Samson Reiny: “And we have impact!”

Lori Glaze: “And we’ve done it!”

Samson Reiny: “A giant leap for humanity in the name of planetary defense.”

Astronomers will observe Dimorphos and the much larger asteroid it orbits to measure how DART altered their path around the sun. Impacts from comets and asteroids have been described as “the only preventable natural disasters,” though the odds of a catastrophic impact in any given year are remote.

This comes amid warnings from NASA over the ongoing threat of unnatural disasters. Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tweeted, “It’s great that NASA is testing the ability to deflect an asteroid or comet if necessary, but the actual clear and present danger to humanity is of course Earth breakdown from burning fossil fuels. #DontLookUp.”

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