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DART Collided With An Asteroid 

On Monday, about 11 million km from Earth, a $325 million spacecraft collided head-on with an asteroid the size of a football stadium in an unprecedented test of NASA’s ability to protect Earth from one of the most popular doomsday scenarios. The ship did not survive. It only had one of Draco’s devices on it.

The test spacecraft Dart, which launched last November, collided with an asteroid at a speed of about 22,500 km/h. The mission marks the first step towards creating a world capable of defending itself against an existential threat.

Neither the asteroid-satellite Dimorphos, nor its “big brother” Didymos posed any threat, since the pair in their orbit around the Sun passes about 11 million kilometers from Earth at maximum approach. But NASA felt it was important to conduct the experiment before the real danger was discovered.

By striking Dimorphos, NASA hopes to reduce its orbit, reducing the time it takes to fly around Didymos by 10 minutes (11 hours 55 minutes). The change will be detected by ground-based telescopes in the coming days or weeks.

The proof-of-concept experiment will bring to life what has previously only been described in science fiction.

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