NASA crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, these are its final images

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) has successfully collided with its target asteroid millions of miles away, and here are its final images.

NASA crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, these are its final images
Published Sep 28, 2022 3:43 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Oct 20 2022 5:21 AM CDT
1 minute & 42 seconds read time

NASA recently announced its successfully collided its DART spacecraft into a target asteroid and right before the collision the spacecraft sent back these images.

NASA crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, these are its final images 90

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) has been deemed a success in terms of achieving collision with an asteroid located about seven million miles from Earth with a human-made spacecraft. The DART mission is the world's very first planetary defense mission with the goal of demonstrating that an asteroid can be deflected with a spacecraft using a kinetic technique. Dimorphos, the target asteroid, is actually a moonlet, which is the smaller of the two that make up the binary asteroid system.

Dimorphos orbits a larger asteroid Didymos and NASA's goal with DART was to show that Dimorphos' orbit can be changed. The DART spacecraft was equipped with the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation, or DRACO, which recorded the entire journey to the asteroid, including the final moments before impact. It should be noted that DART was traveling at a ridiculous speed of 14,000 mph when it collided into the surface of Dimorphos, which resulted in the final image seen below failing to fully send back to Earth before the spacecraft was destroyed.

NASA crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, these are its final images 01

In the above image Didymos is shown in the bottom right-hand corner of the image and Dimorphos is shown in the top left.

NASA crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, these are its final images 02

The following image taken just 11 seconds before the DART spacecraft collided into its target asteroid shows Dimorphos approaching and its rocky surface.

NASA crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, these are its final images 03

The next image is taken two seconds before image, and shows a close up of the asteroid's rocky surface.

NASA crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, these are its final images 04

The last image is taken one second before image impact and was unable to be completed before the spacecraft was obliterated.

NASA anticipates that the impact from the DART spacecraft at such high speeds will be able to change the orbit of the asteroid around its larger companion, NASA researchers estimate that Dimorphos' orbit will shorten by about 1% or about 10 minutes. Before the impact of the DART spacecraft Dimorphos orbited Didymos once every 16 hours.

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If proven to be an effective way of changing the orbit of an asteroid the DART method may be used in the future to deflect asteroid that are dangerous to Earth.

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NEWS SOURCE:astronomy.com

Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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