A view of Dimorphos as the DART spacecraft hurtled towards it on Monday, September 26.
'We have impact': DART successfully alters orbit of asteroid
01:09 - Source: CNN Business

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The DART mission made history this week when it successfully slammed into an asteroid – and we got to see it happen live, from millions of miles away.

As the spacecraft for NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test neared its target Monday, images streamed back to Earth at the rate of one per second of the asteroid Dimorphos, which orbits a larger space rock called Didymos.

Each image proved better than the last, and in the seconds before DART’s impact with Dimorphos, the surface of the small moon filled the entire frame.

Dimorphos, which had never been seen before, turned out to be egg-shaped and covered in boulders. The rocky asteroid has surprised scientists, who are eager to study the images captured by DART before it crashed in a blaze of glory.

Researchers estimate it will take about two months to determine whether DART was successful in changing Dimorphos’ motion in space in humanity’s first test of asteroid deflection technology.

The spacecraft may have shared an incredible first look at an asteroid, but it’s not the only perspective of that asteroid system we’ve been fortunate enough to see.

The wonder

The DART spacecraft took this image of Dimorphos just two seconds before impact.

All eyes were on Didymos and Dimorphos to get a glimpse of the DART impact and aftermath, and the early images did not disappoint.

The Hubble Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope both observed the collision and spied plumes of material releasing from the surface of Dimorphos.

Ground-based observatories also shared how bright the asteroid system became after being dinged by DART.

But the most dramatic images were the first ones shared by LICIACube, the mini Italian satellite that followed DART and watched the entire event from a safe distance. The best part? We’re going to see so much more over the next two months.


The Nobel committee will soon announce the recipients of its annual prizes next week.

It’s difficult to predict who will win these prestigious awards because the nominators, short list and the selection process are kept from public view.

In 2021, none of the Nobel laureates for sciences were women, which some critics suggested was more evidence of systemic bias in scientific fields.

But there are plenty of women who are worthy candidates, such as Dr. Mary-Claire King, who discovered cancer-causing genes, and Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston, whose work blazed a trail in treating sickle cell disease.

Meet more of the female scientists on CNN’s list and learn about the revolutionary discoveries they’ve made in vaccine research, astronomy and chemistry.

Ocean secrets

These icebergs have calved off the end of the LeConte Glacier in Alaska.

Popping fireworks, sizzling bacon and extended booms of thunder are just some of the sounds associated with Earth’s massive glaciers as they fracture and shrink.

Scientists are tuning in to the surprisingly noisy nature of glaciers to learn how quickly ice is melting amid the climate crisis – and to uncover mysteries of the deep.

Glacial ice can be very fizzy, hissing as it releases pressurized air and bubbles that have been frozen for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Where glaciers meet the ocean can be a dangerous place for humans. Monitoring the acoustics of these dense bodies of ice from afar is changing how researchers understand them and what we know about how their sounds impact the animals living in these disappearing habitats.


More than 100 years after the SS Mesaba sank, scientists have found its wreckage at the bottom of the Irish Sea.

On April 14, 1912, the British merchant steamship had sent a message to the RMS Titanic, but the iceberg warning never reached the massive ocean liner’s main control center on that fateful night.

A German submarine torpedoed the Mesaba just six years later, resulting in the death of 20 people. But the exact location of the vessel has been unknown until now.

Researchers used sonar surveying to find the Mesaba – along with a multitude of other shipwrecks strewn across 7,500 square miles (19,425 kilometers).

Across the universe

The Webb telescope observed the spiral galaxy IC 5332, located 29 million light-years away.

Galaxies far, far away seem to be putting on a scintillating show for the James Webb Space Telescope.

Webb spotted the “bones” of a stunning spiral galaxy located 29 million light-years from Earth, a feat even more surprising when compared with Hubble’s view of the same galaxy.

Meanwhile, astronomers analyzed Webb’s very first image and determined that it contains some of the oldest stars and galaxies in the universe – including one that looks a lot like a celestial firework.

The Sparkler galaxy is surrounded by glittering yellow and red dots, some of which turned out to be clusters of ancient stars.


Linger a little longer over these stories:

– The Hubble Space Telescope may get a boost into a higher orbit to extend its life, depending on the findings under a new exploratory agreement between NASA and SpaceX.

– Dogs are endearing for many reasons, and now there’s scientific evidence shedding more light on one of their impressive scent-detecting skills.

– The NASA Juno spacecraft flew by Jupiter’s moon Europa and captured a stunning new look at the ice-covered ocean world.

Like what you’ve read? Oh, but there’s more. Sign up here to receive in your inbox the next edition of Wonder Theory, brought to you by CNN Space and Science writers Ashley Strickland and Katie Hunt. They find wonder in planets beyond our solar system and discoveries from the ancient world.