A NASA spacecraft has hit an asteroid in an unprecedented test designed to prevent potentially devastating collisions with Earth.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft crashed into the asteroid Dimorphos about 11 million kilometres (6.8 million miles) from Earth at about 23:00 GMT on Monday.
The US space agency livestreamed the test from the mission operations centre outside Washington, DC, showing images taken by DART’s own camera as the cube-shaped “impactor” vehicle, no bigger than a vending machine with two rectangular solar arrays, careered into Dimorphos, an asteroid about the size of a football stadium.
Cheers could be heard from engineers in the control room as second-by-second images of the target asteroid grew larger and ultimately filled the TV screen of NASA’s live webcast just before the spacecraft’s signal was lost, confirming it had crashed into Dimorphos.
“Impact confirmed for the world’s first planetary defense test mission,” said a graphic that appeared on the live stream.
Read more: NASA spacecraft collides with asteroid in planetary defence test by Al Jazeera