They publish the first images of the NASA mission that collided with an asteroid

They publish the first images of the NASA mission that collided with an asteroid

This is the first record of the collision between the DART space probe and the asteroid Dimorphos.

After 10 months of spaceflight, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) – the world’s first demonstration of planetary defense technology – successfully slammed into its asteroid target on Monday in the first agency’s attempt to move an asteroid into space.

The research team will now observe Dimorphos using ground-based telescopes and supervising James Webb to confirm that the DART impact modified asteroid orbit around Didymos.

Researchers expect the crash shortened Dimorphos’ orbit by about one. 1%, the equivalent of approximately 10 minutes in time. Accurately measuring the distance traveled by the asteroid is one of the main goals of the large-scale test.

Until the end, the probe recorded images of its fatal fate. However, the ground piece could only transmit until the precise moment of impact. Then came the silence.

Although 15 days before the announced end, DART deployed a small satellite to accurately capture this climactic moment. On Tuesday, this satellite -baptized LICIACube from the name of Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids- releases his first records.

The Italian space agency has already released its first images of the tiny spacecraft. The naked eye sees a storm of bright, hazy debris surrounding Dimorphos, from the DART crash at 14,000 mph on the asteroid’s surface.

The images – from the two cameras aboard the LICIACube – include a before and after comparison of the Didymos asteroid system, as well as photos of the bright debris surrounding Dimorphos.

“These images are crucial in helping scientists understand the structure and composition of Dimorphos,” explained Elisabetta Dotto, lead scientist at the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF).

The researcher pointed out that although these somewhat diffuse snaps are only the first to be published. He also announced that his team will publish in the coming days promising plans in more detail.

“Dimorphos is completely covered by this emission of dust and debris produced by the impact,” Dotto said. Before the impact, scientists did not know how the asteroid would react to the collision.

Within a few years, the European Space Agency also plans to send its own DART detector satellite, dubbed HERA, to accompany LICIACube in its quest to decode the dusty aftermath of the impact.

“As NASA studies the cosmos and our home planet, we’re also working to protect this home, and this international collaboration has turned science fiction into science fact, demonstrating a way to protect Earth,” the administrator said. NASA, Bill Nelson.

Asteroids in sight

Less of thousand potentially dangerous asteroids a kilometer or more wide – large enough to have continental or planetary impact impact – orbit near Earth. None are on the right track for our planet.

An asteroid like Dimorphos that impacted Earth in a typical trayectoria of 1 in 12,000 years, dejaría a crater of one kilometer and medium of ancho and 350 meters of depth, según el simulator de impacto de la Universidad de Purdue y el Imperial College from London.

These planetary bodies with the potential to be a “city breaker” are not big enough to endanger the entire planet, but they are big enough to devastate any area they hit.

SL

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