The missile mission that deflected the asteroid was more successful than expected

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Dimorphos (left), a small moon of the asteroid, orbits the larger asteroid Didymos (right).

Dimorphos (Left), A Small Moon Of The Asteroid, Orbits The Larger Asteroid Didymos (Right).


Dimorphos (left), a small moon of the asteroid, orbits the larger asteroid Didymos (right). – NASA/JOHN HOPKINS APL.

MADRID, March 1

He confirmed the mission of the team; in four articles published in Nature; the feasibility of redirecting near-Earth objects, such as asteroids, as a measure of planetary defense.

NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) test was the first attempt by Earth to launch an asteroid with the intention of colliding with it and deflecting it as a planetary defense technique. September 26, 2022; MERULA space with small lunar asteroids called Dimorphos, which orbit the larger asteroid called Didymos. Neither asteroid threatens the Earth; but they represented similar celestial bodies which might one day approach and endanger the planets.

However, hurricanes or earthquakes cannot stop usbut we have learned that with sufficient time, warnings and resources we can avoid an asteroid impact,” said Derek Richardson, University of Maryland (UMD) professor of astronomy and the mission to avoid spikes.”Given enough time, relatively little change in the orbits of asteroids would be missed; Prevention of great destruction from happening on our planet.

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Richardson and his colleagues in the UMD Department of Astronomy, Professor Jessica Sunshine and Principal Investigator Tony Farnham, played a key role in studies of the effectiveness of the launch pad in deflecting an asteroid from its path toward Earth; He reports that the signals are alert.

Farnham was instrumental in calculating the geometric conditions and dimensions necessary to accurately interpret the observed results. Using data from space engineers and the Didymos Asteroid Navigation and Reconnaissance Optical Camera (DRACO), Farnham helped determine what the DART spacecraft would observe as it approached Dimorphos.

“When it comes to space observations, you need to know where you are in space in relation to the asteroid, the Sun and the Earth, and where to look at each moment,” explained Farnham. “With this information, we have the context to make our assumptions and evaluate our work.”

Thanks to Farnham’s work, the DART team obtained important information about the general lion impact, the location and nature of the impact site, and the size and shape of Dimorphos. To the team’s surprise, they found that the small asteroid was a slightly flattened spheroid, or spherical body; a more elongated figure based on the expected theoretical prediction.

“Dymos and Dimorphos have a softer form” -more like peanut butter M&Ms and less like peanut M&Ms- than we expected,” said Sol. “This figure also challenges some of our preconceptions about how asteroids form and complicate the physics behind the turn; so that we can think of our models for the current of binary asteroids.

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In addition to the irregular shape of Dimorphos, scholars have also noticed the surface of the asteroid was remarkably rocky and weathered. This geomorphic quality affects the probable formation of the crater, the number and physical properties of the ejecta (objects ejected from the impacts), and the moment of the impact type.

Sol, who previously served as the lieutenant principal investigator for NASA’s UMD-led Deep Impact mission, noticed these different textural qualities. going to another proteinwhich was critical in evaluating the success of space in the transfixed Dimorphos from its former orbit.

“The Lamb Impact mission collided with a comet whose surface consisted of small, uniform grains,” explained the Sun. “The deeper impact resulted in a fan of debris more uniform than the filamentary structures observed after the impact of the projectile in rocky areas. It turns out that the movement caused by the ejected projectile had a deep impact on the success of the mission.” .

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ADDITIONAL PUSH FROM DEBRIS DISPOSAL

The expansion of space was not the only source of movement in the impact when Dimorphos was; push to the outside it was caused by violent debris ejections when spacecraft crash into small lunar asteroids.

“So much debris was ejected from the impact that Dimorphos received about 3.5 times the impact compared to a space DART impact alone,” explained Richardson, who helped calculate and verify the momentum transferred between the space DART and Dimorphos.

According to Farnham, who calculated the direction of the asteroid’s ejection, this finding was confirmed when the team measured that the orbit of the asteroid changed more than the team expected, which was more conservative. The difference in orbital period, or the time it takes for a celestial object to complete one rotation around another object; indicates that Dimorphos has changed its orbit around Didymos.

Before the impact, we expected the Dimorph Orb to shorten by only about 10 minutes,” explained Farnham. But after the impact, we found that the orbital period had shortened even further, taking just over 30 minutes off the normal 12-hour orbitIn other words, the ejected material acted like a jet to push the moon further outside its original orbit.

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