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‘Terror and joy’: NASA’s DART asteroid impact a historic success (and relief)

It’s rare for spacecraft mission personnel to cheer at the words “loss of signal,” but tonight, that’s exactly what happened.

Team members are celebrating the successful impact of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which slammed into an asteroid called Dimorphos tonight (Sept. 26) at 7:14 p.m. EDT (2314 GMT) as planned. The mission was designed to evaluate a potential method of planetary defense so that, if astronomers ever spot a large asteroid that might collide with Earth, humans might be able to avoid the catastrophe. Although the team will need days or possibly weeks to evaluate just how successful DART’s test was, simply hitting Dimorphos was a massive achievement, they said.

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