We’ve Got Twins!
A new photograph of the asteroid that NASA just hit with a spacecraft in an effort to jolt it off course, was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It provides the best view yet of some unanticipated mission outcomes a dual tail of dust following after the asteroid system.
Since NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test. Or also known as DART, the mission crashed a probe into Dimorphos in September. The Hubble telescope has made 18 observations of the Didymos-Dimorphos asteroid system. The image, which was released Thursday, is one of those observations.
A statement from NASA and the European Space Agency, which jointly run Hubble stated, “repeated views from Hubble over the previous few weeks have allowed scientists to offer a more detailed picture of how the system’s debris cloud has grown over time.”
“The observations suggest that the ejected material, or ‘ejecta,’ has expanded and lost brightness over time following impact, largely as expected,” according to the release. The twin tail is an unexpected occurrence, despite the fact that comets and active asteroids frequently exhibit similar behavior. The double-tail can view in the highest-quality image to date thanks to Hubble’s observations.
Hubble Good Eye
To comprehend the importance of the split tail, scientists are working. It is the northernmost tail that was recently developed, according to NASA, and in the following months. Researchers will be able to utilize Hubble data. This will be to precisely analyze how it might have evolved.
The smaller asteroid Dimorphos, which NASA’s DART mission is aiming for, revolves around the bigger Didymos. The DART spacecraft’s impact was predicted to shorten Dimorphos’ orbit by 10 seconds, which would be a success for the mission. But last month, NASA announced that it had been able to reduce its trajectory by 32 seconds. That’s from an orbit that would take 11 hours and 55 minutes to 11 hours and 23 minutes.
The DART mission, the first of its kind to happen for planetary defense, set out to evaluate the viability of future asteroid-deflecting technologies. The mission marked the debut of humankind deliberately altering the motion of an object in space.
Written By Lance Santoyo
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Featured Image Courtesy of Mat Hampson Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Blake Patterson Flickr Page – Creative Commons License