(WHTM) — On September 26, 2022, NASA deliberately crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid.

The outer space smashup tested a proposed technique to save us from going the way of the dinosaurs, who were wiped out 65 million years when an asteroid slammed into Earth. (Bad luck for them, good luck for us.) Today NASA released a new timelapse of the test, recorded by the Hubble Telescope.

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The mission was called DART, for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. The double asteroid targeted was Didymos, which has a smaller asteroid named Dimorphos. The DART spacecraft was aimed at Dimorphos, to see if the impact would have any effect on its orbit around Didymos. The hope is a similar technique could be used to change the orbit of an asteroid approaching Earth, causing it to miss our homeworld. Nobody knew what the collision would look like since we’d never tried anything like this before.

The Hubble Telescope was one of the eyes in the skies watching as the 13,000 mph impact blasted over 1,000 tons of dust and rock off the asteroid. Over several days it took a series of images, as dust blew off the asteroid in a cone shape, twisted up along the Dimorphos’s orbit around Didymos, then got blown into a comet-like tail. Hubble’s timelapse movie provides scientists with valuable new clues into how the debris was dispersed. As NASA explains on its website:

The Hubble movie starts at 1.3 hours before impact. In this view both Didymos and Dimorphos are within the central bright spot; even Hubble can’t resolve the two asteroids separately. The thin, straight spikes projecting away from the center (and seen in later images) are artifacts of Hubble’s optics. The first post-impact snapshot is 2 hours after the event. Debris flies away from the asteroid, moving with a range of speeds faster than four miles per hour (fast enough to escape the asteroid’s gravitational pull, so it does not fall back onto the asteroid). The ejecta forms a largely hollow cone with long, stringy filaments.

At about 17 hours after the impact the debris pattern entered a second stage. The dynamic interaction within the binary system starts to distort the cone shape of the ejecta pattern. The most prominent structures are rotating, pinwheel-shaped features. The pinwheel is tied to the gravitational pull of the companion asteroid, Didymos.

Hubble next captures the debris being swept back into a comet-like tail by the pressure of sunlight on the tiny dust particles. This stretches out into a debris train where the lightest particles travel the fastest and farthest from the asteroid. The mystery is compounded later when Hubble records the tail splitting in two for a few days.

As for the results of the experiment, data released back in October indicates that Dimorphos’ orbital period was shortened by 32 minutes, so the asteroid now takes 11 hours and 23 minutes to complete an orbit around Didymos. This change was 25 times more than the minimum NASA scientists set as a successful deflection. As NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said at the time “This is a watershed moment for planetary defense and a watershed moment for humanity,”