WHAM! 10 jaw-dropping images capture NASA DART slamming into an asteroid

A boom that could be seen from Earth.

Originally Published: 
Rocky asteroid surrounded by darkness

NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

This week, NASA scientists watched their spacecraft successfully maneuver to a distant asteroid — and slam itself into the rock’s surface.

The most destructive phase of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is now complete.

Scientists are waiting to see if the spacecraft achieved its goal: throwing the asteroid, Dimorphos, off its orbit around its parent asteroid, Didymos.

NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

The test will reveal if humanity has the tools to redirect an asteroid poised to hit Earth, should the problem present itself in the future.

Before, during, and after the collision, telescopes and nearby satellites captured stellar views of the DART mission in action.

NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

Here are 10 impactful images from DART’s historic mission:

10. In July, scientists confirmed the orbit and location of Dimorphos and Didymos, circled here in red.

Lowell Observatory/N. Moskovitz

9. The asteroid pair streaks slowly across the sky in July, blissfully unaware of the spacecraft collision to come.

Lowell Observatory/N. Moskovitz

8. As the spacecraft flew in for impact this week, DART cameras captured a first-person perspective of the asteroid pair.

NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

7. This is the final full image of Dimorphos captured by DART prior to impact.

NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

6. The spacecraft recorded its journey all the way to the end.

5. From a distance, the Italian Space Agency’s LICIACube satellite observed the asteroid before and after impact.


4. Here’s another explosive shot from LICIACube.


Les Makes observatory, J. Berthier, F. Vachier / T. Santana-Ros / ESA NEOCC, D. Föhring, E. Petrescu, M. Micheli

3. Footage from Les Makes Observatory on the island of La Réunion shows the eruption of light upon impact.

2. A similar view of the collision and the resulting plume was captured from the Klein Karoo Observatory in South Africa.

Virtual Telecope Project/Gianluca Masi

1. Though official images from JWST haven’t been released yet, this raw shot of the asteroid pair was uploaded to the telescope’s database from the night of the impact.


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