After declaring that it was perfectly on track to collide with a distant asteroid, NASA announced a successful collision by its DART spacecraft.
In celebration of the mission, NASA has teamed up with Google to bring an interactive Google search query to the public. By simply Googling "nasa dart" in any browser, the user will get a simple demonstration of what NASA has just pulled off. As shown in the above GIF posted to Twitter on the official NASA Twitter account, users can Google "nasa dart" and see the DART spacecraft fly across the browser window and collide into the background, causing the browser to tip slightly.
The simple demonstration is a small representation of NASA's success with its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the very first planetary defense mission that one day may be extremely valuable if a dangerous asteroid is discovered that has a trajectory that lines up with Earth. For those that don't know, NASA launched its small DART spacecraft in November 2021, and since then, it has been traveling at 14,000 mph towards a binary asteroid system that isn't a threat to Earth.
NASA's goal was to collide this high-speed spacecraft into the asteroid in an attempt to change its orbit and demonstrate the first asteroid deflection method with a kinetic technique.
"Today was a first for Earth! Congrats #DARTMission team for a successful impact, the first step in this history-making planetary defense test that will help us better understand how to protect our Pale Blue Dot from possible future asteroid impacts," writes NASA JPL on Twitter.