On Sept. 26, 2022, NASA conducted the world’s first experiment in planetary defence when it deliberately launched the DART rocket, or Double Asteroid Redirection Test, head-on into the space rock Dimorphos, forever changing its course.
The test was a success, and a slew of recently released analyses in Nature show that scientists are optimistic about the future of the planet-saving technology. While Dimorphos posed no risk to Earth, a day may come when another space rock will.
“I cheered when DART slammed head on into the asteroid for the world’s first planetary defence technology demonstration, and that was just the start,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These findings add to our fundamental understanding of asteroids and build a foundation for how humanity can defend Earth from a potentially hazardous asteroid by altering its course.”
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The mission, which cost US$330 million, saw NASA …