A SPACECRAFT designed to crash into an asteroid 11 million miles from Earth has sent back its first image from space.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is currently traveling through space on an Armageddon-type mission.
Its purpose is to test technology that could protect Earth from potentially devastating asteroids in the future.
The spacecraft opened its “eyes” two weeks after blowing up from a base in California in November, and now we can get a glimpse of its voyage.
Taken about 2 million miles from Earth, the slightly grainy image was made possible using the onboard DRACO telescope camera.
Scientists were able to find about a dozen stars, close to where the constellations Perseus, Aries and Taurus intersect.
But DART won’t reach its final destination until September 2022, so we can expect more shots along its long journey.
If the mission is successful, it could pave the way for a new planetary defense system that can deflect incoming space rocks before impact.
The plan mirrors the plot of the Hollywood hit “Armageddon,” in which Nasa flies a spacecraft to an asteroid to prevent it from hitting Earth.
DART is flying towards the near-Earth binary asteroid Didymos, which is about 740 meters across and lies between the orbits of Earth and Mars.
But that’s not quite the focus of the mission.
Instead, Nasa’s brave warship will set its sights on a smaller asteroid – or moonlet – that orbits Didymos closely.
DART will smash into the space rock at 15,000mph in an attempt to alter its orbit around its host.
After DART hits its target, the Nasa and ESA telescopes on Earth will look at it to check if the plan worked.
A small cube launched with the mission will collect data before, during and after the collision.
Space experts have identified at least 26,000 so-called “near-Earth objects”.
An estimated 4,700 subjects meet Nasa’s classification as “Potentially Hazardous Subjects”.
In other news, NASA has slam Russia after a rocket it fired at one of its own satellites forced the space station to perform an emergency diversion.
Scientists have figured out how fast a dinosaur can run – and it will help Usain Bolt make money.
And Google has confirmed that some of its smartphones are unable to call emergency services due to software error.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Science & Technology team? Email us at the address email@example.com
https://www.the-sun.com/news/4363698/nasa-dart-mission-asteroid-space-armageddon-sends-photo/ ‘Armageddon’ spacecraft smashes asteroid sending first photo back