A US spacecraft successfully collided with the asteroid Demorphos at 1.14 am on Monday. The collision was part of an experiment broadcast live by the space agency NASA.
Demorphos, the space rock that struck 11 million kilometers from Earth, does not pose any danger to our planet. NASA wants to use the experiment to see if it’s possible to push an asteroid out of its orbit through the universe. This could prevent such a rock from threatening Earth and humanity in the distant future.
That is why a space probe flew towards the asteroid last night at a speed of 6 kilometers per second. The last counters can still be followed right before the collision. A camera on the spacecraft captured images broadcast by NASA until a few seconds before the impact.
The experience may provide the world with an opportunity to protect itself
Scientists who had worked on the mission for years held their breaths as the spacecraft got closer and closer to its target. The chosen path turned out to be the right one, because moments later the spacecraft collided with the asteroid. “What a moment,” said the NASA live broadcast commentator, while staff members cheered and hugged.
“Now the science begins,” said Laurie Glaze with great enthusiasm. She is searching for planets for NASA and described the mission as a huge breakthrough. “We are entering a new era where we may have the opportunity to protect ourselves from something like a dangerous asteroid collision.”