Double Asteroid Redirection Test

Two seconds before impact

Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART for short, is an attempt by NASA to redirect the orbit of asteroid Dimorphos via direct impact with a man made spacecraft.

The first image shows the final moment captured by the spacecraft’s camera just 2 seconds before impact with the asteroid’s rocky surface on 27th September. The second image shows a series of recently released James Webb stills of the asteroid at various times after impact.

James Webb images of Dimorphos post impact

The 525 foot wide asteroid is actually a small orbiting chunk of a larger ‘system’ of asteroids some 7 million miles from Earth.

This particular space rock poses no risk to Earth but provides a perfect test of our ability to potentially change the orbit of larger near Earth asteroids that could pose an impact risk in the future.

We won’t know how successful DART has been until November, when all data has been gathered and a new orbit for Dimorphos calculated. DART team members hope to change the orbital period by at least 73 seconds for the mission to be deemed a success.

Constructive destruction.