NASA's DART mission is a success as it crashes into asteroid

A television at Kennedy Space Center shows images from DART.
A television at Kennedy Space Center shows images from DART. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

A NASA spacecraft successfully slammed into an asteroid on Monday evening, testing technology that could be used in the future to protect Earth.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft hit the asteroid at 14,000 miles per hour, in a test to see if DART could knock it off its path. NASA is looking for ways to defend the planet from asteroids and smaller objects hurtling through space, which are "far more numerous, and although they would not set off mass extinctions, they can unleash more energy than a nuclear bomb," The New York Times writes.

The 560-foot-wide asteroid DART hit, named Dimorphos, was not approaching the Earth, making it a good target for possible deflection. Over the next several weeks, NASA scientists and the other engineers working on DART will go through the data and images collected to learn what happened to Dimorphos after DART crashed into it.

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