NASA says DART spacecraft successfully alters asteroid’s path

NASA says it has succeeded in deflecting an asteroid in a historic test of humanity’s ability to stop an incoming cosmic object from devastating life on Earth.
According to international media, the fridge-sized Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impactor deliberately smashed into the asteroid Dimorphos on September 26, pushing it into a smaller, faster orbit around its big brother Didymos, NASA chief Bill Nelson said.
“DART shortened the 11 hour, 55 minute orbit to 11 hours and 23 minutes,” he said. Speeding up Dimorphos’ orbital period by 32 minutes exceeded NASA’s own expectation of 10 minutes.
“We showed the world that NASA is serious as a defender of this planet,” Nelson said.
The asteroid pair loop together around the sun every 2.1 years and pose no threat to Earth, but they posed an ideal test of the “kinetic impact” method of planetary defence in case an actual approaching object is ever detected.