NASA is over the moon about the success of its DART mission ... something the director of the whole operation sees as the beginning of a new era for humankind.
Dr. Lori Glaze, the Director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, joined "TMZ Live" to talk about DART -- an explosive dry run, if you will, at protecting Earth by crashing spacecrafts into potentially dangerous asteroids.
Dr. Glaze says her whole team was really confident the spacecraft would hit its target, but seeing it all up close -- in high definition, no less -- was an experience like no other.
You gotta see the excitement over just how much they were able to make out on the asteroid's surface!
To put the achievement in perspective ... Dr. Glaze says the football stadium-sized asteroid was about 6 million miles away, and the spacecraft was comparable to a vending machine -- and they absolutely nailed it.
Going forward, she says the hope is they've discovered a way to deflect any future asteroids that might cross paths with our planet. Dr. Glaze says they're already taking measurements to see how effective the DART mission really was.
Don't worry ... the folks over at NASA took some time to celebrate such a big W and we hear it was out of this world!