NASA scientist participating in this mission, Tom Statler, said – in a press conference – that this test will be historic, and that humanity will change for the first time the movement of a natural space body in space.
A spacecraft launched late Tuesday from California on an unprecedented mission by the US Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to demonstrate the world’s first planetary defense system aimed at changing the course of any asteroid on its way to a potentially devastating collision with Earth.
The spacecraft – which NASA called “DART” – took off at 10:21 pm Pacific time yesterday (06:21 GMT today, Wednesday) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles, On board a Falcon 9 rocket owned by SpaceX.
“Asteroid Demorphos, we’re coming to you,” NASA wrote – in a tweet – after the launch of the spacecraft.
The spacecraft – which was launched at a speed of 24,000 kilometers per hour – is scheduled to collide with the asteroid Demorphos next October, during The mission called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test.
The launch was broadcast live on NASA TV.
Hours before takeoff, SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, announced that weather conditions were favorable for the launch of the vehicle on time.
And the scientist at NASA, participating in this mission, Tom Statler, said – in a press conference – that this test “will be historic,” noting that “for the first time, humanity will change the movement of a natural space body in space.”