Success! NASA’s DART Guides Asteroid in ‘Basin Moment for Humanity’

Success!  NASA's DART Guides Asteroid in 'Basin Moment for Humanity'
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NASA has succeeded Changing the orbit of the asteroid Dimorphos. NASA crashed Dual Asteroid Redirect Test spacecraft, aka DARTHe went to Dimorphos a few weeks ago to test a possible method of protecting Earth from a dangerous body on a collision course with our planet.

“This is a milestone for planetary defense and a milestone for humanity,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson confirmed at a news conference Tuesday. Said.

To be clear, this was just a test of a potential defensive method called “kinetic impactor diversion” that doesn’t require nuclear weapons or celebrities in a suicide mission in popular Hollywood movies like 1998’s Armageddon. Dimorphos, actually a lunar orbiting the larger asteroid Didymos, poses no real threat to Earth. Actually, no known asteroid or near-Earth object is considered a threat to humanitybut there are still many space rocks and comets that have yet to be discovered or tracked by astronomers.

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The impact of DART with Dimorphos in September. 26 appears to have reduced the moonlet’s orbital time to Didymos by 32 minutes from 11 hours 55 minutes to 11 hours 23 minutes, with an uncertainty of about two minutes. NASA had hoped that DART would change the orbital period by at least 73 seconds, but hoped it could change the orbit by at least a few minutes, and perhaps tens of minutes. The result is therefore on the high side of expected probabilities.

“The recoil of the surface-ejected launch appears to have contributed significantly to the overall thrust delivered to the asteroid,” said Tom Statler, DART program scientist at NASA headquarters.

Ejecta is a technical term for dust and debris thrown into space as a result of impact. Numerous images taken in the days after the telescopes crashed into space and Earth, ejecta formed a tail that followed Dimorphos Similar to what we see in comets orbiting the sun.

DART coordination leader Nancy Chabot of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory noted that although the result was considered a great success, it still represents only a 4 percent change in the asteroid’s orbital period.

“It just gave a little nudge, but if you want to do this in the future it could potentially work, but you want to do it years in advance. Alert time is really important.”

Chabot added that Dimorphos’ physical position has also changed very little, and the space rock is now orbiting Didymos a little more tightly than it did before the impact.

Scientists on the DART team continue to collect more data from observatories around the world to better understand the dynamics and effects of the impact.

Later in ten years, European Space Agency’s Hera project It aims to send another spacecraft to conduct detailed investigations of Dimorphos and Didymos, including examining the impact crater left by DART.

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