TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Reaction continues after NASA successfully hit an asteroid with a spacecraft around 7:14 p.m. ET Monday with an impact of 14,000 mph. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) crashed into the asteroid with the goal of changing the asteroid’s orbit.
The rocket carrying DART launched in November 2021. Through seven million miles of space, it watched the 500-foot diameter asteroid for about 10 months, and then hit it.
Hudson Valley Community College Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Richard Monda said we could see the results of the mission soon.
“This particular asteroid orbits another larger asteroid, so the time that it takes for the asteroid to orbit around the larger one is going to be decreased and observations by professional telescopes on Earth over the next several days will give preliminary results to the success of the change of orbit,” he explained.
The goal of the mission was to change the path of the asteroid and divert it away from Earth. There was never any real threat to Earth, but NASA said the technology could be used someday to save humanity in an “Armageddon” situation.
The $325 million mission was the first attempt to shift the position of an asteroid or any other natural object in space. The European Space Agency is going to do a follow up mission in 2026 to see the impact of the crash.