Daily Mail

Mission accomplish­ed... Nasa can save Earth from asteroids

- By Victoria Allen Science Editor

A HOLLYWOOD-style mission to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid has been confirmed as a success.

Nasa’s Double Asteroid redirectio­n Test (DArT) was the first practice run for saving the Earth if a large asteroid was headed towards us.

The US space agency targeted a harmless asteroid using a refrigerat­or-sized spacecraft aimed at knocking it off course.

Yesterday came confirmati­on that the asteroid’s trajectory had been changed, with its orbit around a larger space rock now 33 minutes faster. Nasa’s minimum goal was to change the orbit by just 72 seconds. The result shows that with enough warning, an asteroid’s orbit around the sun could be changed.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, show the change in the orbit of the asteroid Dimorphos around a larger asteroid called Didymos, which was 6.8Smillion miles from Earth when DArT was launched on September 26.

Nicola Fox, from Nasa, said: ‘These findings add to our understand­ing of asteroids and how humanity can defend Earth from a hazardous asteroid by altering its course.’

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