American scientists have successfully pulled off a mission to strike an asteroid millions of miles away in a bid to twart any future doomsday scenarios for earth.
A NASA spaceship struck the asteroid ten months after it was deliberately launched from California on its pioneering mission.
The extraordinary mission is a real-life reflection of such Hollywood films as “Armageddon” and “Don’t Look Up”.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impactor hit its target, the space rock Dimorphos, just after midnight Irish time.
“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 – a 160-metre asteroid roughly comparable in size to an Egyptian pyramid – orbits a half-mile long big brother called Didymos. Never seen before, the “moonlet” appeared as a speck of light around an hour before the collision.
Its egg-like shape and craggy, boulder-dotted surface finally came into clear view in the last few minutes, as DART raced toward it at roughly 23,500km/ph.
NASA scientists and engineers erupted in applause as the screen froze on a final image, indicating that signal had been lost and impact had taken place.