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On the night of Tuesday, September 27, a small American spacecraft crashed into an asteroid.
At the rate of one frame per second, the asteroid Dimorphos grows across the screens, revealing details on its surface. These images taken 11 million kilometers from Earth are sent live by a NASA spacecraft. During the night, at 1:14 a.m., Tuesday, September 27, the image freezes. Explosion of joy in the control center: the Dart mission is successful. Because the loss of signal means the ship did crash into the asteroid.
A deliberate impact at a speed of over 20,000 km/h. The objective: to divert the celestial body from its trajectory. Specifically, it’s about altering the orbit of Dimorphos, which orbits a larger asteroid, called Didymos. NASA is seeking to reduce this orbit by ten minutes. If the impact is successful, it will be necessary to wait a few days or even a few weeks to know to what extent the trajectory could have been modified. The goal is to allow humanity to prepare for the case where an asteroid would threaten the Earth.