The head of a Greek team which took part in NASA’s probe to smash a spacecraft into an asteroid hailed the success of humanity’s first test of a planetary defense system designed to defend Earth from an asteroid collision scenario.

The American space agency’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) collided head-on with asteroid Dimorphos, about the size of a football stadium, 11 million kilometers from Earth Monday.

“If we spot an asteroid that could become a threat to Earth, we can apply it to modify its orbit,” Kleomenis Tsiganis, an astronomy professor at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, said to Kathimerini

The asteroid would have to be tracked at least two years in advance he added.

Tsiganis, whose team joined the DART program in 2014, says it will take another two to three weeks to know the extent to which the spacecraft succeeded in altering Dimorphos’ trajectory.

The European Space Agency’s Hera mission, to be launched in 2024, will visit Dimorphos in 2026 to view the aftermath of the impact. “This will give us a fuller picture,” he said.