NASA says its mission to knock an asteroid off course — a test of planetary defense — succeeded beyond its expectations.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) slammed a spacecraft into one asteroid to see if it could change its orbit around another asteroid.
About 7 million miles away from Earth, the asteroid Dimorphos is in orbit around a larger asteroid called Didymos. It usually takes 11 hours 55 minutes for Dimorphos to make a complete orbit.
After the DART spacecraft made impact two weeks ago, that orbit has shortened to 11 hours, 23 minutes: a 32-minute change.
“This is a watershed moment for defense,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on Tuesday. “This mission shows that NASA is trying to be ready for whatever the universe throws at us.”