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NASA targets asteroid collision in space

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After NASA intentionally crashed a car-sized spacecraft into an asteroid next week, the European Space Agency will investigate the “crime scene” and uncover the secrets of these potentially devastating space rocks. It depends on the Hera mission.

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) aims to collide with the asteroid’s moon Dimorphus on Monday night in hopes of slightly altering its orbit. This is the first time such an operation has been attempted.

Demorphos is 11 million kilometers away from her and poses no threat to Earth, but the mission is a test run in case the world one day needs to deflect the asteroid from its path.

Astronomers around the world will observe the effects of his DART and monitor the effects closely to see if the mission passes the test.

Scientists are excited not only to see DART’s craters, but also to study otherworldly objects.
“new world”.

Named after the ancient Greek god queen, the European Space Agency’s Hera mission will follow in her footsteps. The Hera spacecraft is scheduled to launch in October 2024 and is expected to arrive at Demorphos in 2026 to measure the precise impact of DART on the asteroid.

Together, Dimorphos orbits the larger asteroid Didymos as it sprints through space, “not only providing a perfect testing opportunity for planetary defense experiments, but also a whole new environment.” Hera mission manager Ian Kanelli said.

Hera is equipped with cameras, spectrometers, radar and even toaster-sized nanosatellites to measure the asteroid’s shape, mass, chemical composition and more.

NASA’s Bhavya Lal said it is important to understand the size and composition of such asteroids. “For example, if the asteroid is loose gravel, the approach to destroying it may be different than if it’s metal or other types of rock,” she told the International Universe Conference in Paris this week. said at the meeting.
Because so little is known about Dimorphos, scientists will discover a “new world” when it opens to the public on Monday, said Patrick Michel, principal investigator of the Hera Mission. “Asteroids are not boring space rocks.
Due to the lower gravity compared to Earth, matter there can behave very differently than expected. “If you don’t touch the surface, you can’t see the mechanical response,” he said. “It behaved almost like a liquid.”
For example, when a Japanese probe dropped a small explosive near the surface of asteroid Ryugu in 2019, it was expected to leave a crater two to three meters wide. Instead, they blew up a 50-meter hole.
“There was no resistance,” said Michelle. “The surface behaved almost like a liquid .

How strange is that?” One of the ways Hera’s mission tests Dimorphos is by landing nanosatellites on its surface.

Binary systems such as Dimorphos and Didymos account for around 15% of known asteroids but have yet to be studied. Dimorphos will be the tiniest asteroid ever analyzed, with a diameter of only 160 metres – roughly the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Learning about DART’s impact is vital not only for planetary defense, but also for comprehending the history of our solar system, where most cosmic entities were formed through collisions and are now littered with craters, according to Michel. DART and Hera might shine a light not just on the future, but also on the past.

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