NASA’s DART spacecraft successfully completed its planned collision with the asteroid Dimorphos at 4.44 am IST on September 27. It was a test of the world's first planetary defense system, designed to prevent a potential doomsday meteorite collision with Earth.
To celebrate the success of the mission, Google Search has introduced an easter egg. If you search for “NASA DART” on Google, the search engine will display a small animation of the DART spacecraft crashing into the search page, leaving it askew."Your Google search could reveal something smashing! Search for 'NASA DART' on Google to see a demonstration of browser, uh, planetary defense," NASA tweeted, which was later shared by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) September 27, 2022
Humanity's first attempt to alter the motion of an asteroid or any celestial body played out in a NASA webcast from the mission operations center outside Washington, DC, 10 months after DART was launched.
The livestream showed images taken by DART's camera as the cube-shaped "impactor" vehicle, no bigger than a vending machine with two rectangular solar arrays, streaked into the asteroid Dimorphos, about the size of a football stadium some 11 million km from Earth.
The mission was devised to determine whether a spacecraft is capable of changing the trajectory of an asteroid through sheer kinetic force, nudging it off course just enough to keep our planet out of harm's way.
Whether the experiment succeeded beyond accomplishing its intended impact will not be known until further ground-based telescope observations of the asteroid next month. But NASA officials hailed the immediate outcome of Monday's test, saying the spacecraft achieved its purpose.
"NASA works for the benefit of humanity, so for us it’s the ultimate fulfillment of our mission to do something like this - a technology demonstration that, who knows, some day could save our home," NASA Deputy Administrator Palm Melroy, a retired astronaut, said minutes after the impact.(With input from Reuters)