NASA completes mission to crash a spaceship into an asteroid


Photo courtesy of REUTERS

NASA captured this moment before the the spaceship DART collided into the asteroid Dimorphos on Sept. 26.

An asteroid was thrown off of its course when NASA successfully crashed a spacecraft into it on September 26.

The spacecraft is called DART, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. DART was launched into space to collide into an asteroid called Dimorphos. The asteroid is not a threat to Earth. The purpose of this experiment was to see if the asteroid would be affected by the collision of the spacecraft. In scientific terms, this is known as kinetic impact. “It’s basically like throwing a tennis ball at a 747,” lead engineer Elena Adams said. “If it goes fast enough, you’re gonna move it. It’s the first test of, can we actually do it?” 

The experiment was conducted by a mission team in John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. The spaceship successfully crashed into the asteroid at 7:14 on Monday. It was initially launched into space in November of 2021. 

DART was monitored by many different satellites on Earth and in space. The mission control team was waiting for the screen to black and all visuals were lost, which indicates that the spaceship collided with the asteroid. 

Niles North students had some reaction to this momentous experiment. “I think it’s great that we are trying new things,” senior Alexandra Sikoral said. “This experiment will help us learn more about asteroids and how they can affect Earth.”

Researchers still don’t know how the asteroid was affected, but NASA will determine how much the asteroid moved and what damage was caused in the weeks to come.