A NASA spacecraft slammed into an asteroid Monday in a dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth. The galactic grand slam hit a harmless asteroid 7 million miles away, with the spacecraft named Dart plowing into the rock at 14,000 mph. Scientists want the impact to carve out a crater, hurl streams of rocks and dirt into space and, most importantly, alter the asteroid’s orbit.
… Telescopes around the world and in space were pointed at Dart to capture the spectacle. It will be days or even weeks to determine how much the asteroid’s path was changed. The $325 million mission is the first attempt to shift the position of an asteroid or any other natural object in space.
… The 525-foot asteroid is named Dimorphos, a moonlet of Didymos, Greek for twin, a fast-spinning asteroid five times bigger that flung off the material that formed the junior partner.
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