nuclear bomb. It's the answer to things that come into space like asteroids and comets, as far as Hollywood is concerned. Movies like Deep Impact and Armageddon rely on nuclear weapons, launched by stars like Bruce Willis, to save the world and deliver the movie.

But experts in the protection of the planet say that in fact, if the astronauts have found a dangerous space rock, the best and most effective response may be a more gentle one. 

like just knocking him out of the way by killing him with a small boat. That's exactly what NASA did on Monday night, when a spacecraft headed straight for an asteroid, disappearing. 

In footage taken as it approached impact, the egg-shaped asteroid, called Dimorphos, grew from a blip on the screen to bring its entire rocky surface into sharp focus before the signal faded away just as the instrument hit, right on target. 

Events happened exactly as the engineers planned, they said, without anything going wrong. "As far as we can tell, our first global security test was a success," said communications engineer Elena Adams 

who added that scientists were watching with "both trepidation and joy" as the plane is approaching its final destination.  

The impact is the culmination of NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), a 7-year, more than $300 million mission that will launch in November 2021 to conduct the first test of human space defense technology.