NASA and Johns Hopkins teams have successfully tested the world’s first dedicated planetary defense mission: the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). DART impacted Dimorphos, a moonlet of near-Earth asteroid 65803 Didymos, at 7:14 PM EDT (23:14 UTC) on Monday, September 26, while traveling at an approximate speed of 22,000 kilometers per hour.
DART’s collision with Dimorphos produced an impact that is equivalent to that of approximately three tonnes of TNT, and — as one would expect — completely destroyed the DART spacecraft. LICIACube, a small CubeSat released by DART on Sept. 11, imaged DART’s impact with Dimorphos, the subsequent ejecta, and possibly even the impact crater created by DART on Dimorphos’ surface. LICIACube will communicates directly with Earth during the impact and has sent images of the impact back to Earth in the hours and days after the event.