Earth could be saved from potential deadly asteroids by smashing into them with a spacecraft, according to a new study.
In recent years, the world has increasingly looked to ensure that it has defence measures in place in case of a deadly asteroid heading towards us. While there are no known threats heading towards us for at least the next 100 years, many potentially deadly asteroids have not been catalogued and could be discovered before then.
As such, a number of organisations including Nasa have proposed possible solutions that would prevent an asteroid colliding with Earth. One of those is redirecting it or deflecting it by slamming a spacecraft into its surface.
Last year, scientists conducted the first full-scale test of such “kinetic impact technology”. That saw Nasa send a mission – named DART – towards an object known as Dimorphos, a moon around another asteroid that was chosen in part because it could be watched by ground-based telescopes.
Now researchers have revealed the results of those observations in a series of papers, published today in Nature. Among other findings, show that the redirection was a success, and that such technology “is a viable technique to potentially defend Earth if necessary”.
The test will also help