The collision between NASA’s DART spacecraft and the asteroid Dimorphos caused 1 to 10 million kg of material to be thrown into space, demonstrating the effectiveness of the test.
DART (Dual Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft NASA crashed into a small asteroid named Dimorphos in late September, preparing for a situation in which humans would have to deflect an asteroid dangerous to Earth in the future. The DART team said the collision shaved 32 minutes off the time needed to complete Dimorphos’ orbit around the larger asteroid, Didymos. This number far exceeds initial expectations.
The Great Tail of Didymos approximately two months after the DART impact.
The Great Tail of Didymos approximately two months after the DART impact. (Photo: Magdalena Ridge Observatory/NM Tech)
Scientists shared new findings about the collision at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union being held in Chicago Dec. 12-16. Many new results focus on The comet-shaped tail was formed by debris from the collision. Additionally, the group of scientists also shared two important numbers they calculated.
First, they estimated that there was at least 1 million kg, and possibly up to 10 million kg, of debris ejected from the asteroid. The total mass of Dimorphos is approximately 5 billion kg. The asteroid could therefore have lost only 0.2% of its material.
The second number is “momentum transfer coefficient”, or beta, towards the main objective of the DART mission. Scientists use this important figure to assess the effectiveness of an asteroid collision. If the spacecraft crashes directly into the asteroid without creating debris, the asteroid will gain exactly the same momentum as it had upon impact, beta equal to 1.
Debris from the asteroid thrown into space will create more momentum for the asteroid, gradually increasing the beta coefficient of the collision. The group of scientists calculated that the beta coefficient of DART is 3.6. This figure shows that Dimorphos gained more than three times as much momentum and that the debris created by the collision affected the asteroid more than the ship itself.
“This is very good news for dynamic collision engineering. At least in the case of DART, the collision is really effective in changing the trajectory of the target.”said Andy Cheng, DART principal investigator at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
The calculations also provide scientists with real-world data to understand how the asteroid’s characteristics affect momentum transfer. This is essential data for determining the size of the spacecraft when trying to prevent a catastrophe. ““Successor” From DART, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Hera spacecraft, scheduled to launch in 2024, will also play an important role after approaching the asteroid pair Dimorphos and Didymos for close-up research.
Article source: VnExpress
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The collision between NASA’s DART spacecraft and the asteroid Dimorphos caused 1 to 10 million kg of material to be thrown into space, demonstrating the effectiveness of the test….