(Courtesy: NASA)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — NASA has officially hit an asteroid about seven million miles from Earth with a spacecraft the size of a school bus. The test is to assess if a deliberate impact can deflect objects on a collision course with Earth. The small asteroid Dimorphos poses no threat.

The event occurred on Monday at approximately 1:14 p.m. Hawaii time.

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NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) has made history as the world’s first planetary defense test. The University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy is playing an important role.

After the impact, UH astronomers will collect data and determine how Dimorphos was impacted using the UH88 telescope on Mauna Kea and the Faulkes North telescope on Haleakala.

“When we find one coming our way, we want to know what to do. We want to know how to change the path of the asteroid so that it will not hit us. It could be that important,” said J.D. ArmstrongHI STAR director and IfA Maui outreach astronomer, in a statement.

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Armstrong will work with students to track the asteroid’s orbit using photometric observations.

UH reports that if the impact changes the asteroid’s velocity, it will prove the planetary defense method can be effective in pushing a potentially hazardous asteroid away from Earth.