NASA has confirmed that the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) test, which aimed to crash a satellite into an asteroid to change its trajectory, was a success.
The space agency’s investigation team determined that the trajectory of the targeted asteroid, Dimorphos, changed its orbit around the parent asteroid, Didymos, with early data indicating that the impact had the desired effect.
“This result is one important step toward understanding the full effect of DART’s impact with its target asteroid,” Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, is quoted as saying in NASA’s press release.
“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,” Glaze added.
This successful mission took place in late September 2022, with NASA posting a first-person video of the satellite impact.
While news that the satellite had collided with the asteroid has been known for two weeks, it took time for the effect of the impact to become visible.
According to NASA, the next step is to determine the exact dynamics of the transfer of impact force into the asteroid, which could lead to the further development of planetary defense systems.