We, Earthlings, can now finally fight back.

Millenia ago, a singular asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, and for decades, scientists have been exploring the possibility of this happening again. If it does happen, what can we do to prevent it? Is there a solid defense we can conduct against an asteroid? And finally, we now can.

NASA has successfully deflected an asteroid called Dimorphos. Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) showed the world that the impact was no accident. Instead, the spacecraft smashed into the asteroid at around 14,000 miles per hour.

With this feat, NASA, for the first time in human history, was able to successfully redirect the orbit of an asteroid.

“This is stuff of science-fiction books and really corny episodes of “StarTrek” from when I was a kid, and now it’s real,” NASA program scientist Tom Statler said.

DART’s bull’s eye was about 9.6 million kilometers from Earth and powered by sophisticated navigational technology. Discovered in 1996, the Didymos asteroid was spinning so fast that scientists believed it had formed a moonlet. Instead, Dimorphos now orbits its parent body at a distance of fewer than 1.2 kilometers.

“This really is about asteroid deflection, not disruption,” said Nancy Chabot, a planetary scientist and mission team leader at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, which is managing the effort.

“This isn’t going to blow up the asteroid. It isn’t going to put it into lots of pieces.”