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Video: NASA spacecraft strikes asteroid in successful test to defend Earth, ushers in new era

Screengrab from the video

A NASA spaceship on Monday successfully hit an asteroid seven million miles away in order to change its orbit, ushering in a new era that enables humankind to prevent any wayward celestial object from destroying life on Earth.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impactor hit its target, the space rock Dimorphos, at 7:14 pm Eastern Time (2314 GMT), 10 months after blasting off from California on its pioneering mission, according to a NASA statement.

The successful test has turned into reality, what has until now been a part of science fiction shown in films such as “Armageddon” and “Don’t Look.”

“We’re embarking on a new era, an era in which we potentially have the capability to protect ourselves from something like a dangerous hazardous asteroid impact,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division.

Dimorphos is a 530-foot asteroid roughly the size of an Egyptian pyramid with an egg-like shape. It finally came into clear view in the final minutes of the test, as DART headed towards it at around 14,500 miles per hour.

NASA scientists and engineers cheered as the screen froze on a final image, indicating that the signal had been lost and impact had taken place.

Although the pair of asteroids do not pose any threat to Earth at present as they loop the Sun every two years, NASA considered it important to carry out the test before an actual need is required for such action.

NASA hopes to push Dimorphos into a smaller orbit with the successful test.

Ground telescopes are expected to provide information on its orbital path. -These telescopes can’t see the asteroid system directly but can detect a shift in patterns of light emanating from it.