When an unmanned spacecraft collided with an asteroid on Monday, all astronomers focused on NASA’s DART project to see whether we might prevent another disastrous collision.
So far, so good: according to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson’s announcement, the mission appears to have been an “exceptional success for planetary protection.”
Many telescopes were intently observing the events of the evening, along with every space geek on the planet Earth. Over the coming weeks, all of these observations are expected to yield some fantastic content, and as you can see below, some of the preliminary imagery has already begun to arrive.
An unmanned spacecraft from the first-ever DART mission collided with the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos, a small rock with a diameter of only 160 meters (530 feet), which orbits a larger asteroid with a diameter of 780 meters (2,560 feet) called Didymos. Nearly 7 million miles or 11 million kilometers from Earth, all of this occurred. In order to understand how DART’s collision changed the asteroid’s orbit around Didymos, astronomers are currently focused on watching Dimorphos.
There are a few more perspectives of the incident that are already in circulation, while NASA has only released the key image of the crash from the fatal spacecraft’s point-of-view.
The ATLAS project, an asteroid impact early warning system that includes observatories from all across the world, was one of the several organizations keeping an eye on the mission.
Even though all of their imagery is a blurry, black-and-white movie, it provides you a good impression of how the DART operation was carried out. The spacecraft and Dimorphos are seen making contact in the ATLAS photos, which results in a flurry of debris spraying outward.
As shown in the live feed below, the Virtual Telescope Project achieved a comparable discovery with the assistance of a few observatories in South Africa.
However, this is only the start of the tale. Expect more amazing photos of the project to be released soon. Space observatories, like as Hubble and the newest kid on the block JWST, were also focused on the DART asteroid crash earlier this week.