NASA’s Rocket Successfully Collides with Asteroid, Potential Debris Threatens Mars

DART Mission: Successful Asteroid Deflection But Unforeseen Consequences Raise Questions About Planetary Defense

In the future, if nothing is done to prevent it, an asteroid not much larger than a football stadium could collide with the planet. If it were to strike a city, it would have devastating effects similar to a non-radioactive nuclear bomb. Currently, there are around 25,000 asteroids measuring roughly 460-feet long in near-Earth space, with about 15,000 of them yet to be discovered.

One possible method to prevent these asteroids from striking Earth is to alter their trajectory by intentionally crashing a small spacecraft into them. In September 2022, a spacecraft the size of a van collided with a 525-foot-long harmless near-Earth asteroid called Dimorphos at a speed of 14,000 miles per hour. This experiment, known as the DART mission, successfully changed the orbit of the asteroid around a larger space rock called Didymos, marking the first planetary defense experiment conducted by humanity.

Although the DART mission was deemed a success, it resulted in some unexpected consequences. A study suggests that the boulders produced as a result of the impact will not pose a threat to Earth. However, these boulders are likely to cross the orbit of Mars over the next 20,000 years. This could potentially lead to some of the boulders penetrating the Martian atmosphere and creating crater-like scars on its surface.

These findings raise concerns about the long-term impact of planetary defense experiments like DART. It emphasizes

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