CFNN Reporter Lana Fair

On September 26, NASA proved that impossible is just a word. They were able to hit a non threatening asteroid, Dimorphos, with a rocket to see if they could alter its path. This is known as NASA’s experimental Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). 

Before DART altered the asteroid path, it took it 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit its larger asteroid, Didymos. Ever since the impact, scientists have been observinging through telescopes on Earth to see how much the orbit has changed with time. Now, it’s confirmed that Dimorphos’s orbit around Didymos has been shortened by 32 minutes.

Because of this experiment by NASA, the planet is just a little bit safer than we were before. Though the chance of an asteroid hitting us is very slim because of our atmosphere vaporizing anything that comes close, there is always still a chance of something coming in contact with us. I mean, look at the dinosaurs! 

“This result is one important step toward understanding the full effect of DART’s impact with its target asteroid,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “As new data come in each day, astronomers will be able to better assess whether, and how, a mission like DART could be used in the future to help protect Earth from a collision with an asteroid if we ever discover one headed our way.”

The data that DART generated is still being analyzed. At least one thing is for certain though, for the first time in history, we are able to protect ourselves from something in space.

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