Headline RoundupSeptember 27th, 2022

NASA Successfully Crashes Rocket Into Asteroid 7 Million Miles From Earth

AllSides Summary

NASA’s DART mission was announced as a success on Tuesday after the rocket collided with an asteroid 6.8 million miles away from Earth. The asteroid did not pose a threat to the planet, but the mission was conducted to gauge humanity's ability to alter the direction of potentially threatening asteroids.

In a statement released by NASA, Lindley Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer, said “DART’s success provides a significant addition to the essential toolbox we must have to protect Earth from a devastating impact by an asteroid. This demonstrates we are no longer powerless to prevent this type of natural disaster. Coupled with enhanced capabilities to accelerate finding the remaining hazardous asteroid population by our next Planetary Defense mission, the Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor, a DART successor could provide what we need to save the day.”

According to NASA, the rocket was roughly the size of a vending machine, and collided with the football stadium-sized asteroid at 14,000 mph. It will take a few weeks before NASA knows the impact of the collision on the asteroid's orbital path, but predictions state even a small nudge, given time, can greatly alter direction, providing optimism for Earth’s ability to defend and deflect possible future threats from above.

The announcement from NASA was covered across the spectrum moderately on Tuesday. MarketWatch (Center Bias) reported that stocks in the space sector received a bump from the successful mission. 

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