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Tags: nasa | asteroid | earth | space

New DART-Asteroid Collision Images Show Impact "A Lot Bigger Than Expected"

New DART-Asteroid Collision Images Show Impact "A Lot Bigger Than Expected"
Personnel at their workstations within the Mission Operations Center during the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 29 September 2022 07:25 PM EDT

Astronomers say photos from the 1,400-mile-per-hour collision of a small spacecraft into an asteroid show that the impact was "a lot bigger than we expected," reports AFP.

The James Webb and Hubble telescopes on Thursday released the first images of the moment NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft slammed into the 525-foot-wide asteroid moonlet Dimorphos on Monday evening 6.8 million miles from Earth.

The images, said Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer at Queen's University Belfast, can offer a view "within just a few kilometers of the asteroids and you really clearly see how the material is flying out from that explosive impact by DART."

"It really is quite spectacular," he said.

Ian Carnelli of the European Space Agency said the images depicted an impact that looks "a lot bigger than we expected."

"I was really worried there was nothing left of Dimorphos" at first, Carnelli told AFP.

The defense system was designed to prevent a potential doomsday meteorite collision with Earth.

The $330 million mission, some seven years in development, was devised to determine if a spacecraft is capable of changing the trajectory of an asteroid through sheer kinetic force, nudging it off course just enough to keep Earth out of harm's way.

Whether the experiment succeeded beyond accomplishing its intended impact will not be known until further ground-based telescope observations of the asteroid next month. But NASA officials hailed the immediate outcome of Monday's test, saying the spacecraft achieved its purpose.

"NASA works for the benefit of humanity, so for us it's the ultimate fulfillment of our mission to do something like this - a technology demonstration that, who knows, some day could save our home," NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, a retired astronaut, said minutes after the impact.

Fitzsimmons said the images were a "beautiful demonstration of the extra science you can get by using more than one telescope simultaneously."

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Astronomers say photos from the 1,400-mile-per-hour collision of a small spacecraft into an asteroid show that the impact was "a lot bigger than we expected," reports AFP.
nasa, asteroid, earth, space
313
2022-25-29
Thursday, 29 September 2022 07:25 PM
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