No, it’s not a movie! NASA crashes spacecraft into asteroid as big as a ‘football stadium’, Twitter calls it spectacular

In several movies, we have seen our superheroes save the day and protect Earth from dangerous space objects charging right toward the blue planet.

Each time the protagonist saves Earth and its habitants by crushing the enemy – in most cases a giant asteroid – the theatre halls erupt in cheers and applause. But as we return back to the reality from the reel, the main question stays: “What happens when a real asteroid hits Earth?”

Well, we will most likely make it. Especially now that NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has taken the first step towards Earth protection against asteroids.

On Monday, the NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces the planet.

The galactic slam occurred at a harmless asteroid 7 million miles (11.3 million kilometres) away, with the spacecraft named Dart plowing into the space rock at 14,000 mph (22,500 kph).

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Scientists expected the impact to carve out a crater, hurl streams of rocks and dirt into space and, most importantly, alter the asteroid’s orbit.

“We have impact!” Mission Control’s Elena Adams announced, jumping up and down and thrusting her arms skyward. The mission, which cost $325 million, was the first attempt to shift the position of an asteroid or any other natural object in space.

While there’s no footage of the direct contact yet, the impact was immediately obvious in the video shared by NASA. The big step forward by NASA towards the world’s future was applauded by netizens on Twitter.

“A bit underwhelming in that we didn’t get to see a major crash but I understand why. Great job Nasa team,” one person replied to NASA’s tweet.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX also praised NASA for ‘successfully crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid’.

Some also called it an “incredible accomplishment” for all humanity.

NASA’s Monday target was a 525-foot (160-metre) asteroid named Dimorphos. It’s a moonlet of Didymos, Greek for twin, a fast-spinning asteroid five times bigger that flung off the material that formed the junior partner.

The pair have been orbiting the sun for eons without threatening Earth, making them ideal save-the-world test candidates.

Launched last November, the vending machine-size Dart — short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test — navigated to its target using new technology developed by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, the spacecraft builder and mission manager.

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