Dimorphos Reshaped?

Dimorphos Reshaped?

Dimorphos Reshaped? https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/17134609/NASA-Dart.gif 620 576 Asteroid Day Asteroid Day https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/17134609/NASA-Dart.gif

Simulations indicate that the orbit of the Dimorphos asteroid has been altered.

A study led by planetary scientist Sabina Raducann from the University of Bern suggests that the asteroid Dimorphos may have looked very different after the impact of the DART probe.

The impact that occurred in 2022 had already changed the asteroid’s orbit by 33 minutes, but the study shows that this was not the only change.

 Asteroid Dimorphos shortly before DART probe impact (NASA/Johns Hopkins APL)

Using computer models, the team of scientists discovered that Dimorphos has a structure similar to a pile of rubble, similar to the constitution of other asteroids such as Bennu and Ryugu, which were explored by the OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2 probes, respectively.

Simulations closest to impact observations indicate that Dimorphos is weakly structured, with few large rocks on its surface. According to the team’s calculations, the collision not only created an impact crater on the asteroid but also appears to have completely changed its shape.

These simulations showed that DART may have ejected up to 1% of the asteroid’s mass, while 8% of it was redistributed and changed its structure through a process known as global deformation. With its changed shape, the surface of Dimorphos appears to have received material from its interior.

Stereoscopic view of debris cloud simulation ejected from the asteroid Dimorphos about 3 minutes after the impact of DART probe (Raducan (UNIBE)/Manzoni/May)

The outcomes of this study carry significant weight for asteroid research and future planetary defence efforts. The European Space Agency’s Hera mission is scheduled to be launched next October and reach Dimorphos at the end of 2026 to inspect the asteroid’s debris and confirm or deny the consequences of the impact anticipated by these simulations.

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