Throws a thousand tons of rock into space
Throughout its already long history, NASA has promoted programs of very different colors, scopes, and effects, including those that They let us s They want to do it again– Step on the Moon Few are as wonderful as Arrow, which stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. This is the case because of the nature of the mission: its main goal was not planetary exploration or deployment Powerful astronomical toolbut to teach us how to defend our planet from asteroids.
The peak of the task has been reached end of septemberwhen a DART mission ship crashes into Dimorphos, a moon Didymus binary system. The goal was exactly that: to complete a crash that would change its orbit and evaluate the effectiveness of a similar strategy if we ever needed to. Protect us from an asteroid that threaten the Earth.
“The mission shows that NASA is trying to prepare for anything the universe throws at us. We take our role as defenders of the planet very seriously.” Administrator emerged Space Agency Bill Nelson. Regardless of the rhetoric, the mission was a milestone for several reasons: It’s the first time humanity has been able to deliberately alter the displacement of a celestial body and — NASA itself stresses — the first large-scale demonstration of an asteroid’s deflection.
Whether the operation succeeded in changing the orbit of Dimorphos is something we already know. Since the beginning of Octoberwhen the US agency explained that the collision changed the orbit: if before the Dimorphos mission it took 11 hours and 55 minutes to reach Didymos orbit, after the collision the motion was shortened by about 32 minutes So stay at 11 hours 23 minutes.
“The result is an important step in understanding the full impact of a DART impact with a target asteroid.” Rate Laurie GlazeFrom the Planetary Science Division at NASA.
Now the agency wanted to dig deeper into balance, expanding information on the results achieved with DART thanks to the measurements and observations it had completed over the past few months. One fixed issue was the amount of rocks and dust that were “knocked out” after impact. Not long ago, NASA actually got pictures that show Pillar over 10,000 km Composed of that substance after the blow.
The new findings were revealed by researchers on the DART mission during a summit American Geophysical Union held this week in Chicago. And they are great. Their accounts show that trauma, in About 22.530 km / hdislodged more than a million kilograms of rock from the asteroid into space, enough to fill six or seven train cars.
the new @tweet Pictures taken after @a potThe Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is revealing # Didymus– The Dimorphos system now has two tails of dust, which were expelled from the impact on September 27, 2022 at 01:14 CEST 👉https://t.co/WFMkEOTSJv pic.twitter.com/7PWwpmhWtD
—ESA Science (esscience) October 20, 2022
“Everything we can learn from the DART mission is part of NASA’s overall work Understanding asteroids and other small bodies in our solar system. Refers to agency: “The asteroid collision was just the beginning. Now we use the observations to study what these objects are made of and how they were formed, as well as how we defend our planet.”
“Studying the kinetic impact ballistics, all derived from Dimorphos, is a key way to get more information about the nature of its surface,” Andy Rifkin scoresco-leader of DART’s research team Applied Physics Lab From Johns Hopkins APL, in the United States. Observations also revealed that Dimorphos and Didymos have a similar composition and shape of the same material associated with regular chondrites.
Putting these pieces together and assuming that Didymus and Dimorphos have the same density, the team estimates that the momentum transferred when the DART hit Dimorphos was approximately 3.6 times higher than if the asteroid had simply sucked in the spacecraft and not produced any ejecta.” Adds the space agency On its official website, where the data showed that “the ejection contributed more to the movement of the asteroid than the spacecraft.”
Cover Photo: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL
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