The world’s first demonstration of planetary defence technology, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), successfully hit the asteroid’s target in the agency’s first attempt to move an asteroid in space, meaning that humanity has now diverted asteroids for the first time ever.
If an Earth-bound asteroid or comet is discovered tomorrow, DART will deflect or fight it, saving people from being pushed off the face of the Earth by an asteroid and wiping them out like dinosaurs.
If an asteroid were to visit Earth, NASA would not only conduct extensive research on this particular asteroid but would also use technology to redirect the asteroids in a more advanced way.
The goal of the one-way mission was to successfully hit the asteroid, which it did by targeting an asteroid moonlet Dimorphos, a small body just 530 feet (160 meters) in diameter, orbiting a larger, 2,560-foot (780-meter) asteroid called Didymos.
It has now gone beyond that, as NASA has confirmed that it can successfully steer a spacecraft to intentionally collide with an asteroid to deflect it – a technique known as kinetic impact.
The sources for this piece include an article in ZDNet.