Impact! The DART mission, humanity's first attempt at redirecting an asteroid, finds its target

At 7:14 p.m. ET, 9/26/22, NASA's DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission made contact with the asteroid Dimorphos. This is humanity's first attempt at redirecting a celestial body as a strategy for planetary defense.

Illustration showing the asteroid Dimporhos orbiting Didymos before impact and the intended new orbit post-impact.

From NASA's DART page:

DART is the first-ever mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid's motion in space through kinetic impact. This method will have DART deliberately collide with a target asteroid—which poses no threat to Earth— in order to change its speed and path. DART's target is the binary, near-Earth asteroid system Didymos, composed of the roughly 780-meter (2,560-foot) -diameter "Didymos" and the smaller, approximately 160-meter (530-foot)-size "Dimorphos," which orbits Didymos. DART will impact Dimorphos to change its orbit within the binary system, and the DART Investigation Team will compare the results of DART's kinetic impact with Dimorphos to highly detailed computer simulations of kinetic impacts on asteroids. Doing so will evaluate the effectiveness of this mitigation approach and assess how best to apply it to future planetary defense scenarios, as well as how accurate the computer simulations are and how well they reflect the behavior of a real asteroid.

See the DART page at NASA for more mission details.

Images: NASA channel YouTube screen grab