NASA Crashes Million-Dollar Rocket – On Purpose



2021 model of the DART rocket being moved onto a work stand. Photo by NASA.

Seamus McPherson, Staff Writer

NASA just crashed a 325-million dollar rocket into an asteroid on purpose to change the asteroid’s orbital period. 

On Sept. 26, 2022, NASA successfully crashed the DART spacecraft into Dimorphos, a small asteroid orbiting Didymos. At this point, the Didymos system poses no threat to earth, making it the perfect test subject. 

The purpose of this mission was to knock Dimorphos off its current orbital path. This was humanity’s first attempt at knocking an object in space off orbit, and provided a test in case a situation occurs where knocking an asteroid off course is needed. 

Early telescope observations have concluded Dimorphos was knocked off its orbit by one percent, or roughly shortening its orbit by 10 minutes. 

DART team celebrating the successful mission. Photo by NASA.

What is next for the DART project? Now the research portion begins. Is it possible for the asteroid to return to its original orbit? What scale of objects could we apply this defense technique to? What are the long-term effects of doing this? 

In the next four years, the European space agency will conduct a project to study the Dimorphos asteroid system and the crater left by DART’s impact. It’s important to learn how many segments of debris were separated, and how fast it was traveling so calculations could be adjusted in case of a real-world situation. 

Over the next few months and years, more images will be released, research completed, and questions will be answered as part of NASA’s continuing mission

NASA’s upcoming projects: 

To see all of Future events and project visit: