November 28, 2022

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The best pictures of DART's deadly encounter with an asteroid

The best pictures of DART’s deadly encounter with an asteroid

The final, full-frame image captured by DART before it hit the asteroid Dimorphos.

The final, full-frame image captured by DART before it hit the asteroid Dimorphos.
picture: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

NASA’s DART spacecraft was 6.8 million miles from Earth when it was Collided with an asteroid the size of a football field on Monday. Despite this enormous distance, images from the collision and its aftermath emerge, and prove to be better – and much more bizarre – than we expected.

With testing entering Monday, it wasn’t clear how much of the double asteroid redirection test we’d see. At least, we were hoping to get a POV experience out of the built-in DART camera, called DracoViews from the size of a shoebox LICIACube, which was lagging closely behind the ill-fated NASA spacecraft. They did not disappoint.

We also learned that telescopic eyes would watch from a distance, including ground-based observatories and two fairly popular space telescopes, Hubble and Webb. Once again, they did not disappoint.

It’s still early days in terms of data collection, but the combined result is that we get a reasonably clear picture of what happened when DART hit Dimorphos. This is great in terms of engaging the audience for what it is A very important mission to deflect an asteroidbut also in terms of the science needed to know if it actually works.

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