Earth protection in action. Space telescopes showed how the DART device crashed into an asteroid (photo)

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Earth protection in action. Space telescopes showed how the DART device crashed into an asteroid (photo)

The Webb Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope recorded the moment NASA spacecraft collided with the small asteroid Dimorph, which is a satellite of the asteroid Didymus at a distance of 11 million km from Earth.

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Back on Tuesday, September 27, NASA for the first time in history conducted a test of the Earth's planetary defense against potentially dangerous asteroids. Then the DART spacecraft headed for its target – the asteroid Dimorph (a little more than 160 meters wide) and exploded as a result of the collision, but reached its goal. And the goal was to change the orbit of the asteroid, in which it revolves around another space rock Didyma (nearly 800 meters wide). Now, NASA has released new images taken by two space observatories showing the moment of the explosion, writes The Guardian.

Focus has already written about how the first ever test happened planetary defense technology, in which NASA changed the trajectory of rotation of the asteroid Dimorph. Also Focuswrote that telescopes on Earth were able to record this event, and a day later the LICIACube spacecraft sent its images of the collision to Earth.

Earth defense in action. Space telescopes showed how DART device crashed into an asteroid (photo)

Earth defense in action. Space telescopes show how DART crashed into an asteroid (photo)

According to NASA, the Webb Space Telescope also monitored the DART collision (by the way, this mission cost the agency more than $300 million). Using its NIRCam instrument, the telescope took several images before and after the asteroid impact.

Earth defense in action. Space telescopes showed how the DART probe crashed into an asteroid (photo)

Earth defense in action. Space telescopes show how DART crashed into an asteroid (photo)

While the Webb telescope took images in the infrared range of light, the Hubble Space Telescope took pictures in the visible range of light. As for the number of images, the Webb telescope took 10 pictures, and Hubble managed to take as many as 45 photos. All of them will be used to assess the consequences of the collision.

According to scientists, after the collision, the brightness of the asteroid Dimorph increased several times. On the images themselves, you can see the moment of the explosion, as well as the ejection of material from the surface of the target asteroid, as a result of the impact of the DART apparatus on it.

Earth defense in action. Space telescopes showed how the apparatus DART crashed into an asteroid (photo)

Earth defense in action. Space telescopes showed how the DART device crashed into an asteroid (photo)

According to NASA head Bill Nelson, once again you can make sure that the joint work of two space observatories gives much better results than their single observations of certain objects.

According to scientists, it will take at least two more months before it can be 100% said that the mission to change the asteroid's orbit was definitely successful. Now NASA scientists will monitor the movement of the asteroid Dimorph with telescopes on Earth, as well as with the help of Webb and Hubble, which are in space.

Nevertheless, scientists have already announced that testing asteroid deflection technology with his path can be considered successful. Therefore, a catastrophic scenario in which an asteroid falls to Earth may cease to be even a theoretical reality.

By the way, as for the Hubble telescope, unlike Webb, it can already be considered a space veteran. It has been in space since 1990 (the Webb Telescope only went into full operation in June 2022) and is already showing signs of wear and tear. But NASA wants to continue to use it further, and perhaps next year a manned mission will go to it to upgrade its instruments, as Focus.

already wrote.