NASA Probe Successfully Changed Asteroid Orbit

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According to the US space agency NASA, the first deliberate collision of a spacecraft with an asteroid was a success: The impact of the DART probe in September reduced the orbit of the asteroid moon Dimorphos, NASA boss Bill Nelson reported Tuesday.

Analysis of data received in the past two weeks by NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) research team since the impact shows that the spacecraft’s kinetic impact with its target asteroid Dimorphos successfully changed its orbit, the US Space Agency said.

“We all have a responsibility to protect our home planet. After all, he’s the only one we have,” Nelson said on the NASA website. “This mission shows that NASA is trying to be prepared for whatever the universe throws at us. NASA has proven that we mean it as defenders of the planet.”

Prior to the DART impact, it took Dimorphos 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit its larger parent planet Didymos. Since DART’s deliberate collision with Dimorphos on Sept. 26, astronomers have used several telescopes on Earth to measure how much the orbit has changed.

Job significantly shortened
Now the research team has confirmed that the impact of the spacecraft changed Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos. While it previously took Dimorphos 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit its big brother Didymos, it now takes 11 hours and 23 minutes (with an uncertainty of plus/minus two minutes), NASA reports on its website.

Source: Krone

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