While NASA was experimenting with the deflection of threatening asteroids, another object on the potentially dangerous list suddenly changed direction, whether good or bad.
During the monitoring process to prepare DESTIN+ Mission (launch planned for 2024 to reach the asteroid Phaethon), the Japan Aerospace Agency (JAXA) suddenly discovered that its target had…. “run away”.
According to Space, the asteroid Phaethon discovered by NASA shortens its orbit every 4 milliseconds per year. Although it seems very small, each of these changes, especially a continuous change with incomprehensible acceleration, can have a significant impact on predicting the object’s trajectory.
The asteroid Phaethon through different observations – (Photo: Arecibo/NASA/NSF)
In the immediate term, knowing the exact location of the asteroid will help scientists get the DESTINY+ spacecraft to the right place – which is expected to be the case in 2028.
Then it will be an important parameter for predicting the asteroid’s orbit, which must always be monitored because Phaethon is classified as a space object. “Potentially dangerous” for the Earth.
It is very rare for an asteroid’s rotation to change. Phaethon is the 11th asteroid recorded with this strange behavior, and is the largest space object of the 11 mentioned above with an average diameter of 5.4 km.
Using more than three decades of observational data – from 1989 to 2021 – planetary scientist Sean Marshall of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, who collaborated with JAXA, created a model of Phaethon in preparation for the mission DEЅTINY+ and discovered the above anomaly.
“The shape model’s predictions did not match the data. The times when the model was brightest were not in sync with the times when Phaethon was brightest. I realized this was because the period of Phaethon’s rotation changed a bit.” – said Dr. Marshall.
According to him, the change could have occurred when this asteroid fell at perihelion (closest to the Sun), when it behaved like a comet, radiating a bright halo and losing a lot of material.
This discovery. ” was just reported at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Planetary Science Division – American Astronomical Society, surprisingly coinciding with a successful NASA experiment: the DART mission to deflect pure asteroids.
While DART was created to prepare to deflect something whose trajectory could send it crashing to Earth, Phaethon, still healing, suddenly transformed.
The good news is that despite this change, calculations show that this temporarily poses no threat to our planet. But scientists will definitely have to monitor it closely in the future.
Asteroid Phaethon, its full name is 3200 Phaeton, is actually not strange to people on Earth. Because it acts like a comet, it creates a dusty rocky tail that accidentally crosses Earth’s orbit.
The “ghost” of Phaethon that people often see is the magnificent Geminid meteor shower.
The “ghost” of Phaethon that people often see is the magnificent Geminid meteor shower – (Photo: INTERNATIONAL METEORO ORGANIZATION)
You can’t see the asteroid itself with the naked eye, but you’ve observed these fragments, bright and clear, in mid-December each year: it’s the Geminids meteor shower, one of the biggest meteor showers of the year. the maximum number of meteors at night can be up to 150.
Article source: NLD
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NASA is attempting to conduct a test to deflect threatening asteroids when another object on the potentially dangerous list suddenly changes direction,…