Scientists estimate that the Dart impact could reshape the asteroid Dimorphos

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This is likely to have an impact Dart ship National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) vs Asteroid demorphoses In September 2022 to deflect its orbit So check the planetary defense system, Not leaving a dent, but reshaping the whole thing.

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This is suggested by a new impact simulation study published in natural astronomy, Point that when can check The Hera spacecraft of the European Space Agency (ESA). Visit this distant asteroid and its parent moon, Didymos.

On September 26, 2022, NASA's roughly half-ton DART spacecraftA rock-covered asteroid impacted Demorphos at 6.1 km/s.

This is the first test The kinetic impact method of asteroid deflection was successful: Earth-based observations show Dimorphos making an 11-hour 55-minute orbit around its parent asteroid Didymo.s reduced to approximately 33 minutes (measured with an uncertainty of plus or minus one minute).

What researchers still don't know is how the asteroid reacted to the spacecraft's impact, or the overall efficiency of the momentum transfer. Calculating this last value of the “beta factor” requires precise knowledge of the asteroid's mass, which will eventually be measured by Hera.

Obtaining the beta factor also requires an accurate measurement of the recoil of the material ejected into space.

So far, tantalizing clues have emerged, including images obtained by the nearby Italian LICIACube and images from space telescopes up to five minutes and 20 seconds after the DART impact. James Webb and Hubble, as well as terrestrial observation stations. All of them show a gigantic ruin It stretched more than 10,000 kilometers in space and lasted for several months.

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To get a closer look at post-impact Dimorphos, scientists will have to wait for the arrival of ESA's Hera spacecraft. Its release is slated for October, and Hera will arrive in Dimorphos By the end of 2026, A series of instruments and sub-miniature 'cubesats' are equipped to assess the composition, structure and mass of the dimorphoses and reveal high-speed impacts. has changed it (the name dimorphos comes from the Greek and means “having two forms”).

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Meanwhile, an international research teamHe has advanced knowledge on the impact of DART by Bern smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) impact code simulations.

This system software, Developed over two decades at the University of Bern, it is designed to mimic the collision fracture of rock bodies.

The Bern SPH works by turning colliding bodies into millions of particles whose behavior during impact is determined by the interaction of several reconfigurable variables such as gravity, density or strength of the asteroid material. It was verified by laboratory tests and used to reproduce an existing asteroid impact test: the Japanese Hayabusa 2 spacecraft shot a small copper impactor when it hit the asteroid Ryuku in 2019.

“The crater has grown to cover most of the body, so Dimorphos is completely reshaped. As a result, Hera can't find any craters left by the dart. Instead, she finds a very different body. Our simulations suggest that Dimorphos has blunted its initial flying saucer shape on the side of impact: Dimorphos is a If you think chocolate is starting to look like M&M'sLooks like they've bitten it off now!”, Sabina Radukan, lead author of the study and co-director of the Hera Impact Physics Task Force, explained in a statement.

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This long groove phenomenon greatly increased the deflection efficiency; The team estimates that the impact of DART is 1% of the total mass of the demorphoses was thrown into space, Its lowest escape velocity is only 10 cm/s. and about 8% of the asteroid's mass. It moved around his body.

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