Video: NASA spacecraft hits an asteroid at more than 20,000 km / h to deflect its trajectory

Author: Clark Tos
2022-09-27 13:23:12

A NASA probe has struck an asteroid, with the aim of deflecting the trajectory of the latter. Never seen !

The mission was eagerly awaited by astronomy enthusiasts.

NASA's Dart mission probe hit the asteroid Dimorphos eleven million kilometers from Earth, on the night of Monday September 26 to Tuesday September 27.

Never in the history of mankind has such an event taken place.

Photo credit: screenshot / @NASA

A NASA probe hits an asteroid to deflect it, a first

This life-size test, which aimed to deflect the celestial body from its trajectory in order to better anticipate a similar threat in the future, took place at 1:14 a.m. in France (7:14 p.m. on the East Coast of the United States).

The spacecraft, slightly smaller than a car, was thus launched at more than 20,000 kilometers per hour before colliding with the asteroid to the applause of members of the Naa , who monitored the progress of the mission at the control center located in Maryland.

On images broadcast by the American space agency from a camera placed on the probe, we can thus see the stony surface of Dimorphos getting bigger and bigger, as the ship approaches it. Then the retransmission abruptly ceases at the moment of impact.

Measuring about 160 meters in diameter, Dimorphos - which is actually the satellite of a larger asteroid called Didymos - remains harmless to the Earth . NASA seeks to reduce its orbit by 10 minutes and thus modify its trajectory. Hence this assignment.

However, scientists will have to wait a few weeks before being able to determine if the trajectory has indeed been altered.

In the meantime, the agency is already delighted with this great first!

« We are embarked on a new era, where we potentially have the ability to protect ourselves from a dangerous asteroid impact “, reacted Lori Glaze, director of planetary sciences at NASA.

The South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town also immortalized this historic moment, as you can see below.

Source: AFP