The spacecraft, slightly smaller than the size of a car, collided, as expected, at 23:14 GMT with the asteroid at a speed of more than 20 thousand km / h.
And the US space agency transmitted the facts of this collision directly on the air. As soon as the spacecraft hit the asteroid, the NASA crew members who gathered at the Mission Supervision Center in Maryland, United States, exploded for joy..
Minutes before the spacecraft collided with the asteroid Demorphos, which is 11 million km from Earth, the image of the object began to get bigger and bigger, as the spacecraft approached it more and more.
In a live transmission, the cameras on the spacecraft transmitted stunning images of the astronomical body, showing every detail of Dimorphos, including its gray surface and the small pebbles covering it. The moment the vehicle hit the asteroid and crashed into it, the transmission of images stopped.
“We are on the cusp of a new era in which we have the potential to protect ourselves from dangerous asteroid impacts,” said Laurie Gleese, director of planetary sciences at NASA.
Demorphos, which is about 160 meters in diameter, poses no threat to Earth.
In fact, this small asteroid is a moon orbiting another larger asteroid called Didymos.
It takes Demorphos 11 hours 55 minutes to make a full circle around Didymus. But NASA seeks, through the mission that it carried out on Monday, to reduce this period by 10 minutes by reducing the orbit of Demorphos by bringing it closer to Didymus.
It will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to see if the trajectory of the small asteroid was really changed by the impact.
And will do this task scientists on the ground thanks to their telescopes.
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